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Behind the playful and colorful Unskilled Worker artworks on the new collection are curious and poignant stories.
British artist Helen Downie tells the tales behind the faces, which unify her personal memories and Alessandro Michele’s designs.

Family: The Gucci Chronicles 
painting is a response to homophobic comments left on Instagram. I wanted to express, that for me, family is a feeling. I believe we find our families. 

Lady Bugs: The Gucci Chronicles 
is based around the young Italian families I see walking in Rome. They are so warm and loving with their children. I love the way Italians follow certain rules but at the same time look so effortless. The ladybirds came from my childhood;
I would collect them in a bucket only for them to fly away!

Little Lallo 
I had a couple of pictures to work from but they were a little out of focus and so I painted from the perspective of how I imagined Alessandro as a little boy in his garden with his dogs. Many of the elements that Alessandro uses for the collections have been with him since childhood and I do the same. The snake belt he is wearing isn’t Gucci; it was the belt I wore as a child. I always try to add in a little something of me. 
The Stein Sisters: The Gucci Chronicles 
It’s a fairy tale of sorts of twins who live in the country but long for the glamour of the city. It started to come together when I saw the blue dress but it wasn’t until I posted the painting on Instagram that somebody pointed out that the sisters are a little like the twins from the film ‘Shining’ - they even hold hands in the same way.
So you connect all these things without knowing it. 
Put A Ring On It: The Gucci Chronicles 
When I paint in threes, it’s about their attitude. These three are very tough, gritty and resilient London girls; I paint from what I know so they have a working class background.
Ready for the Palais: The Gucci Chronicles 
I love these girls because they are so like two girls I used to work with. 
They’re wearing Gucci but I’m not sure how, because they wouldn’t have had that sort of money. I imagined these two dressed up and on their way out to a night at Hammersmith Palais in London.
The Gucci Gang: The Gucci Chronicles 
Is inspired by women from my past; similar to Ready for the Palais.
Sophie and George 
The brother and sister are inspired by troubadours; circus folk who came to town to perform and delight people but left them a little bit fearful.
Defo Fan Art: The Gucci Chronicles 
She’s like a big scary doll that came to life and was taken from one of the Gucci looks at Westminster Abbey. 
Constance, Grace and Hope: The Gucci Chronicles
I really wanted to communicate how a mother envelops her children with love. Her hands are oversized and protective. My idea of human relationships is in all my paintings, the way that the characters are so intertwined. 
Helen’s Dress 
is a print from a dress I had as a little girl - when I was six. It was my best party dress and I always felt happy wearing it. It’s a very particular yellow, a very warm sunny yellow that's probably grown brighter in my mind. 
Jeannie’s Garden
 this is a painting inspired by a smell, the smell of my grandmother’s scarf. There’s always a bit of poison in my work, I don’t like to be too sweet so poisoned mushrooms and poppies appear in this print.”
Read More Read Less

  • Put a ring on it. The Gucci Chronicles.
  • Defo Fan Art. The Gucci Chronicles.
  • Little Lallo.
  • The Stein Sisters. The Gucci Chronicles.
  • Constance, Grace and Hope. The Gucci Chronicles.
  • Family. The Gucci Chronicles.
  • Gucci Fan
  • Lady Bugs. The Gucci Chronicles.
  • The Gucci Gang.The Gucci Chronicles.
  • London’s Dreaming. The Gucci Chronicles.
  • Ready for the Palais. The Gucci Chronicles.
  • Sophie and George.
  • Space Boy Prince.
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