Tuesday, 18 February 2014


Connections appear when you least expect them. Last Sunday I went to London to visit.....  the Isabella Blow show at Somerset House and  I am not proud to tell that I think the only other time I have ever been there was to ice skate. Neither am I proud to say that this exhibition wasn't at the absolute top of my list, even after many years spent in fashion and textiles, but with many recommendations and much encouragement I headed off. 

I'll mention the down side (for me) first. I thought it was badly laid out, too cramped and not brilliantly lit. But the upside! The upside blew all that out of the water. I was inspired by the stye, the verve, the creativity and the scope of the pieces on show. These were brought to life with videos of Isabella talking and sort of wafting about and a magnificent film of a McQueen fashion show. I was mesmerised by the clothes, all worn by Isablella. To have been spotted by her, as indeed Treacy and McQueen were, was the gold ticket. I loved not only the hats (made for her  by Treacy), the dresses and the odd shoes which she liked to wear but I also loved the way she put everything together. She was a true stylist, she was truly inspirational. This was pret-a-porter sculpture and art

In the shop I found a good collection of cards, books and makeup - cool!

The next event in the day, after a fab lunch at Tom's diner located in Somerset House (where I somehow managed to fall of my stool) was a bus ride to Tate Britain to see the brand new Richard Deacon. Now I thought this was a bit of a giant leap for me but I was looking forward to not only seeing this show but also to seeing the newly refurbished Tate Britain.

This one was instant wow and totally leaning towards an upside only. The new rooms are  large, airy and well lit. They compliment work of this scale and even on that first weekend there was room to  walk around freely and get up close to each piece. Touching and caressing was  not allowed I suspect but the pieces inspired that response in me. I wanted to walk through them and to sit under them. I certainly wanted to draw them.  The curves were fluid as were the layers of glued wood which had been bent to flow and ripple. The shapes and pulse of these pieces were uplifting and inspiring and ...... they made me think of Philip Treacy hats! Or rather I imagined that Treacy could have sat in here and gone home with a head full of ideas for hats. I hadn't expected any link between the two but felt richer for having seen them back to back.

The Deacon at Tate Modern London is on till 27th April and the  Blow at Somerset House finishes on 2nd March. So you'll have to go soon if you want to do the same