Lunar Gala proves Carnegie Mellon gets fashion
Saturday night was the premiere and only night of Carnegie Mellon’s biggest annual fashion show, Lunar Gala, featuring dazzling designs created and modeled entirely by students. The theme this year was “Hypnôse,” with the tagline: “The Illusion is Beautiful.” The title and description fit the replaying eerie video that began with a girl standing alone in a wintry forest staring curiously at what appeared to be a multicolored hologram. Only with the culmination of the show did the audience discover what happened to the girl when she stepped into the hologram: her image became a series of hallucinations and warped images, meant to represent the inspiration for this year’s Lunar Gala. The show itself was grand, complete with high-energy dance performances from Carnegie Mellon’s very own Infra Dance Company and SoulStylz, as well as a catalog with descriptions of each line.
The show began with a DJ playing energetic music, after which the video flashed on the screen and the crowd erupted into applause and shouts. The first line displayed was titled “Cocoon” and was designed by sophomore design major Miriam Buchwald, who explains in the show’s magazine how the inspiration for her looks came from the unraveling of a cocoon. The series of delicate white dresses and gowns appeared angelic on stage, and seemed to include many different textures. It was most shocking, then, that each beautiful dress had been crafted completely from hot glue. The designer’s talent was apparent in the intricacies of each design, and how each look was unique, despite having been made from the same material.
Once “Cocoon” ended, there was a quick transition to the next line, “Saint Knox,” signaled by a change in music and pattern of lights on the light-board from which the models emerged.
The looks featured in “Saint Knox,” designed by junior design majors Keith Joseph and Hayden Smith, were more casual and edgy than the first line. In stark contrast to the delicate white dresses of the first line, the simple black or grey outfits were unique, often with sheer or entirely removed sleeves. The designers definitely achieved their goal of creating “an easy-going line of modern street wear,” as described in the magazine.
From the next line “Fjortis,” the most memorable aspect was the light display on the board under which the models entered. Setting the scene for designer senior decision science major Anna Cederquist’s vision, as described in the program, of combining “what is considered mature and childish” was a light design with bright colors and images that danced along the light board in tune to the fun, upbeat music. The designs themselves matched the theme, with silhouettes that appeared adult-like and accented with small, unexpected bursts of neon and childlike patterns.
Junior design major Liana Kong’s “Heteroptera” was next on stage. Citing her inspiration as the book Heteroptera by Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, Kong created an alternate environment through her use of geometric shapes and mixes of textures such as leather and tulle. Purposeful cutouts and rips accentuated her theme of human destruction. This line was followed by “Biome,” created by fifth-year architecture major Ying Lin, junior mechanical engineering major Josh Lopez-Binder, and fifth-year architecture major Paulina Reyes. Intricate patterns representative of the computational design involved in the creation of this line were juxtaposed against soft, wispy dresses.
Like its mysterious name, “Senhua” was intriguing with three-dimensional shapes, laser cut designs, and eccentric materials such as plastic. The designers — sophomore design major Chloe Chia, junior design major Alex Kane, and sophomore Bachelors of Computer Science and Arts student in computer science and design Jessica Shen — emphasized the importance of balance in their line. The product of a trio majoring in varying disciplines, “Senhua” was a combination of various techniques and styles, tied together by a playful-yet-serious vibe. The differences and similarities in design worked to make the looks that were displayed visually appealing.
Everything in Lunar Gala was the result of careful planning and consideration, including the order in which the different lines were displayed. Though it was obvious that each fashion line tied into the Hypnôse theme by playing with texture and pattern, it was also noticeable that each line seamlessly transitioned into the next. While three-dimensional shapes characterized “Senhua,” the next line, “Dilate,” placed emphasis on light. The line’s designers — sophomore industrial design major Gina Huang, sophomore communication design major Irene Joung, and sophomore fine arts major Angelina Namkung — achieved this emphasis through 3-D elements such as a string of light bulbs hanging around the model’s neck, or a few light bulbs dangling off a pyramid-shaped hat.
From one line based on light came another called “Lumi,” though this type of light came in the form of small LED bulbs that the models could control with Bluetooth technology. Through this line, designers sophomore art major Christin Bongiorni and senior business administration major Mia Skinner achieved their goal of fusing technology with fashion. This line was indescribably enjoyable to watch, due to the interplay between the lights and music.
Third-year architecture majors Shivani Jain and Jacqueline Yeung’s line, “Mureaux,” focused on what they described in the program as “extrusions of the body.” Most memorable from this line were the peculiar shapes in mostly neutral colors, accented by pieces in gold. This line easily transitioned to third-year architecture major Colleen Clifford’s “Capsaicin,” which was simultaneously simple and modern, marked by reusability of different fabrics.
Then came the futuristic neon plastics with junior design majors Samantha Chiu and Antonio Ono’s “UV,” followed by first-year design major Eileen Huang’s “Youth.” While “UV” was more futuristic and revealing, “Youth” was, as its name indicates, more childish with items such as a pair of neon pink overalls.
Like many of the lines that incorporated technology with fashion, the next line, “Errorz” was inspired by a type of music, as described by designers junior human-computer interaction and design double major Aya Demler and junior mechanical engineering and robotics double major Rick Shanor. They explained that they utilized inspiration from the stages of electronic dance music, concerts to create their looks. The models strode onto the stage wearing designs reminiscent of Transformers, featuring geometric shapes that lit up to the beat of the music. Fourth-year architecture major Vishaal Dokras’s line “Vagoba” followed. The line was a modern take on the British invasion of India. Junior design majors Susan Park and Jane Yoon’s “Avalokita” came next. This line was inspired by a Buddhist god. The repetition in patterns and contrast in layers made “Avalokita” visually appealing. Most memorable was the moment when the models all stood at the edge of the stage and bowed to the audience.
The show ended with “Spectral Discord,” another line that focused on pattern repetition, though in this case the designer, junior design major Rachel Ciavarella, stated in the magzine that she drew her inspiration from “excessive media exposure.” There was then an atmosphere of celebration as all the people involved in Lunar Gala strode out onto the stage and were greeted by wild applause from the audience for their hard work and dedication to the show. Lunar Gala is a spectacle that every Carnegie Mellon student must experience at least once in his or her years here.