After studying at Brighton Art School, Barbara built up a wealth of experience in fashion illustration for magazines like Women’s Wear Daily, Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Nineteen and Honey, as well as leading advertising agencies.
"It’s all about body shapes, whether in illustrations or designing clothes, the colour changes according to the environment. In my Miami Beach studio, its all bright technicolor whereas London goes light smudges plums, violets, and burnt orange orchids," explains Barbara.
When creating an illustration, Barbara draws onto thick vellum paper and develops the work before transferring it to heavier card. Usually, she scans in the illustration to digitally add colour. Whenever she’s approaching a brief, she works closely with the client to work out the right vibe for the illustration.
Barbara’s style varies as she adjusts the tone and content of her images to meet the needs of her client. Her drawings have a lot of energy, and she enjoys creating faces that are lovely, but with a little extra – they have attitude, and something to say. For cosmetics, she uses a more instructional illustration style.
Officer of the British Empire (OBE) 2012
WGSN Global Fashion Outstanding Contribution to Fashion Award 2011
Cosmetic Executive Women Lifetime Achievement Award 2005
American Institute of Architects 1993
Miami Design Preservation League Award 1991
Bath Museum of Costume Dress of the Year Award 1972
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Barbara: It was quicker than Design to be independent. Question: Do you have any formal design training? Barbara: Yes, Brighton University Fashion Courses.Question: Where are you originally from? Barbara: Warsaw, Poland. Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Barbara: Miami Beach. I arrived for a project that was going to last six months and I ended up staying for 25 years.Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? Barbara: One street back from the beach in an original Art Deco building built in the 1930’s. The studio is cluttered with illustrations, artwork and samples. Question: Describe the view from your studio window? Barbara: Sun and Palm trees blowing in the wind. Question: Do you collect anything? Barbara: Yes, 1950’s Orange glassware.Question: Who or What is your biggest inspiration? Barbara: Everything around me. Question: What are your interests outside of illustration? Barbara: Mostly Films.Question: What is the first record you bought? Barbara: Elvis Presley.Question: Tell us about a favourite project you've recently completed. Barbara: Fashion Illustrations for Naeem Khan. Question: What would be your dream job/commission? Barbara: They all are a dream, however small. Question: Who is your art hero? Barbara: Early Picasso.Question: Who is your design hero? Barbara: Rick Owens.Question: Who are your musical heroes? Barbara: 50's musicals.Question: Do you have a method for dealing with the feeling of having no ideas? Barbara: I don't really have a lack of ideas, they seem to keep coming. Go for a walk on the beach (or nature) if things get stagnant. Question: What about when you hit 'the wall' with an illustration? How do you cope with that? Barbara: Give it a rest and do something else and then return to it at 4:00 pm in the afternoon, that is the magic hour.Question: If you could live anywhere, where would you go? Barbara: I am here now. Question: If you could take a holiday leaving tomorrow, where would you go & what would you do? Barbara: Not the beach as I live on the beach! Moscow.Question: If you could travel back in time which period would you visit & why? Barbara: 1960's & 1970's were the best, doing things for the first time around.