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Isabella Blow's nurturing nature saved by Daphne Guinness

FashionBy Sunday World
Isabella Blow's nurturing nature saved by Daphne Guinness

Daphne Guinness bought the wardrobe of late designer Isabella Blow so she could "nurture" her memory.

Isabella committed suicide in 2007 aged 48 following several years of depression and an ovarian cancer diagnosis, leaving behind an illustrious career. Following her death, artist Daphne purchased the fashion maven's belongings and set up the Isabella Blow Foundation to support ambitious fashion and art students, as well as furthering research into depression and mental health. For Daphne though, keeping a hold of her late friend's pieces had a more personal reason behind it.

"It was partly, speaking frankly, because of how I feel about the fashion industry," she told Huffington Post Australia. "It's also about what happened to her as a human being, as a creative, and as someone who nurtured students. She was nurturing. I don't see many Isabellas around, I really don't.

"She was really one of a kind. She was a mother figure and she brought out the best in people.

"Now it's all about next collections and big corporations. It's not about love, it's not about the art, it's about commerce. Sure, we have to be practical and everybody needs to make money, but I wanted to nurture her memory the way she nurtured those around her," she added.

Isabella's creations are to be displayed in an exhibition, Isabella Blow: A Fashionable Life, in Sydney's Powerhouse Museum from 14 May (16). The event's curator Shonagh Marshall found it quite the challenge to put all the pieces together, so turned to others for help in making sure it summed up Isabella accurately.

"It's very difficult to sum up Isabella's style," Shonagh said. "When you see all of the ensembles there together, we built them up as she'd worn them. So we used a lot of archival and social diary imagery, as well as speaking with (milliner and designer) Philip Treacy and other people who knew her very well. I think you really do get a feel for her style once you've seen the exhibition, though I must say her style really is something that is difficult to put into words."

The exhibition, which runs until 28 August (16), features bold garments both created and worn by Isabella, including a Givenchy piece by fellow late fashion star Alexander McQueen.

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