The Artist Is Incognito

Text: Laura Hawkins published by Wallpaper Magazine
Photography: Barbora Mrazkova

Photography series captures London tailoring designer’s lockdown lethargy

London-based designer Ester Kubisz has collaborated with long time friend Barbora Mrazkova on a sartorially-led photography series, titled ‘Artist Is Incognito’, illuminating the lethargy of life in lockdown.

When Ester Kubisz’s friend, the photographer Barbora Mrazkova, was in London for a month earlier this spring – after relocating to Portugal – the South London-based designer, who founded her tailoring-focused label in 2020, saw the moment as a collaborative opportunity. ‘She was staying at my house for a couple of nights’ says Kubisz, of the new home she had recently moved into, whch was ‘run down, but with lots of character’. Struck by a dichotomy, that the week pub gardens reopened in the United Kingdom, and Kubisz’s sense of being ‘free but not’, the duo designed to work on a visual essay inside Kubisz’s home, which captures the lethargic monotony of lockdown.

The resulting photography portfolio, titled ‘The Artist is Incognito’, captures a faceless model in various positions around Kubisz’s home: slouched over the soft arm of a sofa; lying at the top of a carpeted staircase; performing yoga positions; head slumped in boredom on a writing desk. ‘The inspiration was based around the idea of being inside for so long that you don’t know what to do with yourself,’ Kubisz explains.

‘It’s like a little mosaic of thoughts and feelings gathered over the past year or so,’ Kubisz adds of the raw and over-exposed shots which presciently portray a sense of boredom and bodily malaise. Kubisz also mused on the idea of over-production within the fashion industry, and the concept of manufacturing clothing during a pandemic period, when very few people were dressing up and leaving their homes. The photography series features garments which have been layered up on the body, like tailored trousers with three waistbands. ‘There was a sense of people within the industry wanting sales, but also a knowledge that clothing might not sell in a huge amount,’ she adds.

For Kubisz making clothing that lasts is key. Her brand’s tailored designs, produced using high quality fabrics, feature silhouettes that are adjustable and with seam allowances, in case people change in body shape. The lethargy of lockdown may be waning, but those are design tenets which are here to stay.

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