Illustrator Isabella Cotier’s work has an expressive energy to it that can only really be achieved when you’re working from life. Her depictions of characters observed as they go about their daily lives are funny, vivid, loose and immediate; capturing moments without necessarily being literal.
The illustrator’s drawings balance intuitive line-work with flat colour, placing people front-and-centre in blocked out, coloured-in surroundings. In her recent work with Gucci, she had her drawings of Florentine local characters applied to t-shirts and bags sold at the Gucci Garden gift shop and in the Gucci Museum. Having been raised in Florence, Isabella knew the city well and spent time drawing at cafes and markets, working on what was initially a personal project on people-watching.
One of the key characters in the illustrators works is Florin, an ex-ballerina Isabella met by chance after she saw her dancing around a cafe in a fur coat and hat. After Alessandro Michele – the creative director of Gucci – was shown her work, he asked her if she’d like to collaborate, and the resulting collection is a celebration of Florin and Florence’s wider cast of older, street style stars enjoying the freedom of wearing whatever the hell they want.
Originally born in London, Isabella moved back to study at the London College of Fashion. Since graduating, she’s been working from a Dalston studio with enviable clients including Gucci and Vogue, for which she illustrates Eva Wiseman’s agony aunt column, as well as maintaining her personal practice.
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