She picked up painting later on in life, honing her haunting portraits with childlike innocence and wide, expressive eyes through the then-young social media platform of Instagram. Discovered by the fashion crowd through a discerning editor at Matchesfashion.com who commissioned her to create portraits for their townhouse, Helen Downie, otherwise known as @UnskilledWorker became widely followed by the fashion crowd who loved her soft, expressive style.
Lady Bugs by Unskilled Worker
It was through Instagram that Gucci's creative director Alessandro Michele grew enamoured with her vision of humanity, working with her early on in both of their latest careers to reflect his first collections through paintings. It comes full circle now as a few years on, Downie has now collaborated on a 40-piece capsule collection using some old, some new paintings on an array of Gucci pieces. In her signature , Downie has splashed a combination of portraits and floral designs onto classic printed GG Marmont shoulder bags, Princetown mules, totes with bamboo handles, silk skirts and blouses, chunky knits, denim, tees and bomber jackets.
Unskilled Worker Nymphaea bag
“I’ve always been fascinated by the way people invent themselves through their appearance. So when I began painting it was only natural that it would become part of my work. The Gucci paintings are an emotional response to Alessandro's work.” It’s hard not to feel giddy looking at the finished result.
The collaboration is available to shop online here: