Stellar Leuna was approached by Prada…yes Prada…to collaborate on their SS18 collection to illustrate women in a uniquely empowering way. Inspired by horror films, children’s books, comics and the Riot Grrrl movement, Stellar draws inspiration from cool women, fem fatals, witches and her imagination. No wonder Prada collaborated with her on their SS18 collection.
Prada worked with eight visionary artists, spanning the generational spectrum, each of whom has illustrated women in a uniquely empowering way — Brigid Elva, Joëlle Jones, Giuliana Maldini, Natsume Ono, Emma Ríos, Trina Robbins and Fiona Staples — and with the archive of Tarpé Mills, creator of the first female action hero.
We spoke last in 2015 – What have you been up to over the past years?
I’ve been doing more or less similar things, designing stuff for streetwear labels and hardcore bands, challenging myself with large-scale public murals and most recently I finished up 50+ illustrations for a self-help book on creativity written by author Harriett Griffey, which is going to be published at the end of this month through Hardy Grant Publishing in the UK. The biggest thing I’ve worked on since has been my collaboration with Prada though, it was totally unexpected but I am so proud of the result. Other than work I’ve also travelled overseas a lot and started training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. I like having fun but I also love challenging myself otherwise I get bored.
How did this amazing collaboration with Prada come about?
Totally out of nowhere to be honest! They just emailed me. I actually can’t really expand any more on this answer because it was a complete surprise! Haha.
Prada has worked with 8 visionaries for this season – were you aware of the others creatives before this collaboration?
I was aware that it would be a collective of different female artists but I didn’t know who they were until the collection was launched and the press release came out. There are a lot of huge names in the comics world in this collaboration so it was such an honour to have my work displayed alongside them.
This seems to be a match made in heaven for you since you were already very much into comic illustration – Where did your inspiration come from your contribution? Is there a story behind it?
It definitely was one of the most perfect collaborations. The craziest thing is I did the illustrations in 2014, so the ideas were there for a long time. I’ve always been inspired by 90’s punk feminism and comics, and whatever I end up doing always comes back to these two themes as the foundation or the core values of my work, so the fact that they based the collection around this was really flattering! It was so cool to see the models walking down the catwalk to songs by Nirvana and L7, because that’s the stuff I grew up listening to and what inspires my art the most, so I think they really nailed it.
They featured three of my illustrations from my first solo exhibition ‘FATALE’, which was a collection of 24 artworks based around the themes of empowerment and punk rock with splashes of supernatural/horror themes. I’ve made tons of t-shirts and prints using these images over the last few years, and I’ve always considered myself a relatively underground artist with a small following of people who collect the stuff I draw and make, so to see them on the Prada runway was surreal, to say the least.
How long did it take you or Was there much preparation?
The entire process only took roughly 3 weeks. Basically, they said they loved my work and wanted to see more of it, so I showed them a portfolio of my favourite pieces and they picked the best ones!
What is your favourite piece?
Mine would definitely be the one worn by Natale Westling – the black trench coat with the button detailing over the shoulders and the big ‘fatale’ patch on the back. I think it’s such a nice way to meld both the punk aesthetic that I love while still making it very ‘Prada’. I love the way they styled it very androgynously with the origami painters hat!
What women/woman do you admire or think is worth speaking loudly about?
Donita Sparks from L7 for being an overall badass since the late 80’s. She’s a genuine and unique human, goofy, funny, smart and tough as nails. She’s been my hero since I was 14. Working with L7 would be my ultimate dream job.
What is feminism to you?
Who is your favourite superhero?
Catwoman! I know she’s a supervillain but to me, she’s cool as hell and definitely a woman worthy of worship.
Photos: Chris Loutfy, Prada.
Interview: Michelle Owen