What to Read Next

Lobster hat, armadillo bag on show for British fashion muse

Li-mei Hoang
19 November 2013
A woman walks past mannequins wearing creations once worn by Isabella Blow at the Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! exhibition at Somerset House in London November 19, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
A woman walks past mannequins wearing creations once worn by Isabella Blow at the Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! exhibition at Somerset House in London November 19, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

By Li-mei Hoang

LONDON (Reuters) - A hat topped with a lobster shell and a handbag made of an armadillo went on display in London this week in an exhibition celebrating the life of late fashion eccentric Isabella Blow.

A fashion director for Vogue, Tatler and The Sunday Times Style magazines, Blow discovered and nurtured young talent such as fashion designers Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan and milliner Philip Treacy.

More than 100 pieces from Blow's personal collection feature in the exhibition, including clothing by the late McQueen, whose first designs she bought for 5,000 pounds and paid off in 100 pound instalments each week.

Blow committed suicide in 2007 at the age of 48. When her wardrobe went up for sale two years ago, her close friend Daphne Guinness bought the entire collection to preserve it as an inspiration to fashion students.

"It seemed quite clear that the collection would be of immense value to a great many people," Guinness, who set up a foundation in honour of Blow's legacy, said.

"I am doing this in memory of a dear friend, in the hope that her legacy may continue to aid and inspire generations of designers to come," Guinness said in a statement released at the exhibition preview in London on Tuesday.

Blow was famous for her eccentric sense of style, consisting often of a Philip Treacy hat, Alexander McQueen clothes and Manolo Blahnik shoes, a look recreated for the show among dozens of other outfits.

"She was a person that brought out something in people and she pulled people together. Her creativity was infectious," said exhibition co-curator Shonagh Marshall.

"It's really rare to see a lot of the pieces in this show, and archives such as Alexander McQueen don't have the really early stuff. That's all in Isabella's collection," Marshall told Reuters.

"It's a real snippet of a moment in time," Marshall said of the lobster hat decorated with Swarovski crystals by designer Erik Halley.

"There's a sense of spontaneity and creativity that really comes through with this 1990s 'Cool Britannia' British fashion design."

"Isabella Blow Fashion Galore" at Somerset House in London runs from Nov 20 until March 2.

(Additional reporting by Rollo Ross; Editing by Michael Roddy and Robin Pomeroy)

Drive part-time, full-time, or anytime with Uber!

As an Uber independent contractor you can get paid to drive your own car! We connect you with riders, and you work when you want to.

Hilton HHonors™ Card

Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points. Apply for Your Card Today.

This $625 Intro Bonus Is Insane

A leading credit card issuer just raised its intro bonus to an industry-leading $500 cash or $625 in travel. And no annual fee the first year.

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

Bad News For Insurance, Great News For Virginia

Virginia drivers, with cars and good driving records are learning that they may qualify for lower car insurance rates. Do you qualify?

Military Mortgage Rates In 2016

Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military - Takes 1 Min!

The Smith Part-Time MBA Gives You More Options

Ad Description Earn an MBA from UMD on your schedule. New accelerated options at 3 locations.

How To Make Sagging Skin Look Tight and Lifted

[Watch] The easy and effective way consumers across the country are improving the look of their wrinkled and sagging skin without cosmetic procedures.

Popular Sleep Aid Takes CVS by Storm

The simplest way to fall asleep fast and stay asleep all night.

Surprising Rule Helps People In Credit Card Debt

Discover how these federal changes are keeping consumers safe and helping people pay off credit card debt faster.

$70/Month Is Too Much For Auto Insurance

If you drive less than 50 miles per day, there is a way to pay less for auto insurance that few people realize. Are you overpaying?

Do NOT pay your insurance until you try this.

If you drive less than 55 miles/day OR have no DUI's you can get auto insurance for as low as $29/ Month! See if you qualify.