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Who is Princess Moona?

London-based, Germany-born print designer and photographer, Mona Cordes, ended the last year of her Bachelor’s program with an explosively colorful statement on individuality and Brexit. The multimedium artist’s thesis piece, “Circus Infinity,” painted a bold and beautifully absurd narrative of characters who transcend the geopolitical limitations set by legal governance. Far from an artist just concerned with visuals, Cordes prides herself on uniting aesthetics with real-world issues to create digestible but also thought-provoking pieces that will leave quite an impression on the viewer.

We chatted with the artist about “Circus Infinity”, her upcoming projects, and research for her new collection.

Tell us a little about yourself, Mona. How did you get started in the photo/fashion world?

I am a London-based, German fashion print designer and photographer. I am in my Fashion Design Master’s studies at the moment. I’ve been photographing since the age of 17, when I discovered my love for it after spending a year in Hastings, UK. I started shopping for vintage and being interested in styling. For 4 years now I have been living in London. This past summer I graduated with a Bachelors in Fashion Textiles. Next to my studies I am keeping active and creating my own freelance work – editorials and styling work as well as custom fashion pieces 

Is the name Princess Moona a pseudonym for your work/tell us the story of this name, if any.

 My Instagram name @princess_moona has and will never change. It is quite funny to be asked about this, I actually never have been. I created my account in 2012 which was quite a girly phase for me. I used to wear a lot of skirts and dresses and wore pink and pastel colors a lot of the time. I was secretly wishing to be a princess, lol. I now call myself ‘princess punk’. My clothing and design style has changed over the years but I like to keep hold onto certain things and stay true to myself.

Tell us about the concept behind this shoot! What inspired it? 

The shoot features my graduate collection with its title: ‘CIRCUS INFINITY’. It is deeply rooted in my soul as it’s my first full collection ever.  My work is like a playground of color and texture, Circus Infinity is inspired by the circus, and by personal photos and memories of my childhood where I dressed as a clown. I created 6 looks, each character belonging to ‘Circus Infinity’ who are showing rebellion against Brexit, using different symbolism of color, graphics, and humor. Characters are, Fun Infinity, Cheer infinity, Funk infinity, Joy infinity, Joke infinity, and Bliss infinity. Characters have their own passports which allow them to freely travel the world, no thank you Brexit. Circus Infinity symbolizes individuality and sets a bold statement into the world using color and pattern combined with political ideas.

With the editorial shoot, I had in mind to create a full story and set around the collection and really open boundaries in the fashion world. We all had a nice day creating a wholesome happy clown community. I am very honored to have such a community around me. In the shoot, I could really sense everyone’s creative individuality.

This shoot was very rooted in surreality, what feelings or ideas do you hope to invoke in the viewer? 

With the shoot, I wanted to open a vast community of any gender, race, and background. My models made a good mix, I could see so much people power coming together. I hope that my garments show how my creative energies, with its kaleidoscopic vision, are being projected onto different individuals and are getting messages of rebellion across to the viewer. 

Can you tell us about the collaborative quality of this piece? Who was involved/who did what? 

I am the organizer of this shoot being the designer, stylist, creative director, and photographer. As a photographer, I had to combine my creative forces into a big shoot of my own works. I worked with a hair- and make-up artist as well as my wonderful assistant Hannah. Hannah was a great help to me with managing the set. My models are all creatives – Ari (musician), Lewis (writer), Ayesha (activist + artist), Yulia (model). 

What was your favorite part of creating this piece? 

My favorite part was the moment everyone arrived at set. It was a day of creative growth for me. I have been organizing, styling and photographing shoots for the past few years but never have I put my creative forces into one as in this shoot. Everything worked out pretty sweet and there was a nice flow throughout the day. 

What was the hardest part? 

The hardest part was organizing the times with everyone involved. It took several months to get everyone on board and find a suitable date. Even the day before I felt anxious to have someone cancel. It did come to that but luckily I found an amazing hairstylist replacement last minute. 

So this was your thesis piece! What are the next steps? What upcoming projects are you super excited for?

I have quite a lot of pulls for my garments at the moment and I am looking forward to new editorials coming out. It’s really interesting to see how different stylists use my pieces and to see the vibe that is created. I have been asked to have a showroom in Milan, will see if that will become real. I had been asked by Vogue to be in the new designer section which I had declined due to money reasons). There are a few sparks floating about and I am hoping for more. 

Since being a Masters student, I am focusing on this over the next few months. I feel very excited to be starting my new collection research. I promise it will be another outburst of my creative energies. :~)

Images courtesy of Mona Cordes.

Garments courtesy of Mona_co_garms.

Models: Ayesha Jones, Yulia Guseva, Lewis Hunt Onatra.

Stay tuned to Milk for more artists we love.

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