Gucci and Isabella Cotier Collaboration 2018

Gucci has really embraced street style ever since Alessandro Michele became the brands creative director in 2015. In 2018 he did a capsule collection and decided to bring illustrator Isabella Cotier on board. They created sweatshirts, t-shirts and tote bags that displayed line drawings. This type of art is Cotier’s signature style and she normally works on a small-scale. The medium she tends to use the most is oil pastel and influenced largely by London and Florence, two places she has lived, her work is both vibrant and more subdued. Cotier says London brings bright color to her art and Florence is where the classical work of those like Botticelli inspires her.

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Artwork by Isabella Cotier 

What inspired the illustrations used in the Gucci collection were people Cotier has seen in Florence. Some drawings were exaggerations but all came from her love of people watching and seeing characters in their daily lives being unapologetically themselves. Michele has a love for this as well, and it’s what ultimately led him to ask Cotier to collaborate.

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Tote bag from Gucci’s 2018 collaboration with Isabella Cotier (L) Illustration by Isabella Cotier (R)

Cotier had been working on a series of drawings that featured eccentric local characters of Florence. Explaining the beginning of this series she said, “I saw this little old lady with this massive fur coat and hat. I thought she’s amazing! Then, she started dancing. My friends introduced me. Her name was Florin. She was an ex-ballerina. And so, I started collecting these Florentine characters from different places like Sant’Ambrogio Market.”

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Sweatshirt from Gucci’s 2018 collaboration with Isabella Cotier (L) Illustration by Isabella Cotier (R)

Michele was shown some of these characters on social media and realized that him and Cotier shared an appreciation for people whose self-expression is both unconscious and authentic. Cotier soon got a call and was asked to collaborate with Gucci. She had been planning on exhibiting the series of drawings in a small cafe in Santo Spirito in Florence but I think it is safe to say her plan was traded up.

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Tote bag from Gucci’s 2018 collaboration with Isabella Cotier (L) Illustration by Isabella Cotier (R)

The Gucci x Cotier collection was created as limited edition and could only be purchased at Gucci Garden in Florence. Florence being where Gucci was founded, where the characters in the collection were from and where Cotier grew up. It was a very special moment for Cotier to have her work on pieces in the Garden.

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T-shirt from Gucci’s 2018 collaboration with Isabella Cotier (L) Illustration by Isabella Cotier (R)

It is a space that opened as Gucci’s take on a museum and is located in the historic 14th century Palazzo della Mercanzia in Florence’s central Piazza della Signoria. It is “a living, collaborative and creative space which expresses the evolving aesthetic and philosophy of the house.”- Gucci

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Gucci Garden

It has retail space, a museum like exhibition area and a restaurant. The retail space includes a bazaar-like shop and sells products that are exclusive to the Garden. Some pieces are Gucci and others are Gucci collaborations. All have a Gucci Garden label like the one below.

Gucci Garden label

Cotier and Gucci have proven to be a great pair. They also worked together to create kids pieces and Cotier was one of six artists asked to create illustrations based on the launch of Gucci’s custom sweater service in 2018. She is no stranger to working with prestigious companies as she also does work for Vogue.

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T-shirt from Gucci’s kids collaboration with Isabella Cotier (L) Illustration based on the launch of Gucci’s custom sweater service by Isabella Cotier (R)

Cotier’s work captures the attention of esteemed people and she has said, “with my work I hope to achieve something honest and energetic.” I would say the characters depicted in the Gucci collection show honesty and the colors she used are energizing. Simple but bold, Cotiers collaboration with Gucci was enchanting.

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