Lunar Gala sells out Weigand gym in 22nd annual show

This past Saturday night, Lunar Gala, the long-anticipated fashion show of the year took place in the Cohon University Center. The goal of Lunar Gala is to showcase the creative exploration of Carnegie Mellon students through clothing, drawing inspiration from different aspects of life.

The show itself incorporated a variety of art forms, from visual to print to web motion design. The event’s reputation and popularity were evident in the fact that almost a thousand tickets sold out before the event, and the on the night of, the line stretched throughout the entire first floor of Cohon University Center.

Anna Gusman, the creative director of Lunar Gala, told The Tartan that the planning team started preparing for Lunar Gala ten months ago. The planning process was roughly divided into recruiting, advertising and preparing for the day of the show.

She explained that one of her most important jobs was to set the theme of this year. The team ended up choosing the word “Anomie”, which described “a condition of society that isolates the individual through the dissolution of community”. This theme word was derived from “breeziness” and “honesty”, two common descriptors attributed to the boar — this year’s zodiac animal of the Lunar Calendar. Based on this central idea, a production team consisting of more than 120 students unleashed their creativity.

The event started around 7:40 p.m. As the light dimmed and the opening dancers infused the stage with abstract beauty, Lunar Gala models, wearing the realizations of designers’ innovative concepts, walked out one after another.

The concepts were greatly diverse from one another: Broqué, a pop culture take on baroque art; eden, addressing the degradation of Earth; Phantasus, inspired by the poem “They are not long” by Ernest Dowson; and Shibui, a Japanese concept emphasizing simple forms and pure beauty. A variety of fabrics were utilized, from cotton and nylon to resin and paper. Teaming up with professional makeup artists, Lunar Gala successfully allowed the beauty of their creativity to breathe through every single detail of the on-stage presentation.

Jessica Timczyk, a sophomore student in Dietrich working towards a technical writing degree, was both model coordinator and a model at Lunar Gala this year. She gave The Tartan insights to the rigorous model training: in order to achieve perfection on the night of the performance, the models trained for four hours per week from last August to this March.

“Coming into my job, one of the improvements I wanted to make was to cut the down time in these trainings and improve the efficiency of the model team.” As Timczyk further elaborated on her responsibilities, she noted the difficulties in overcoming the barriers of communication across teams and handling the logistics of every detail.

But the passion she had for Lunar Gala overshadowed these problems she encountered. “Although a lot of hard work was required for this huge production, at the end of the day, I met some of my best friends in Lunar Gala, I enjoyed the camaraderie between models through various bonding events, and I get to experience our final production on stage, which was extremely thrilling and rewarding. These are the things that motivate me to keep coming back to the Lunar Gala,” she said.

“One word to describe Lunar Gala would be, ‘astonishing’”, said creative director Anna Gusman, continuing, “I’m constantly astonished by how well the designers were able to create something from nothing. Astonished by how strange, beautiful, different and difficult everybody’s work is and I feel very privileged to be able to weave it all together and guide that process into a cohesive vision.”

Furthermore, Anna was also “astonished” by the power of trust she learned through working with Lunar Gala’s huge production team, she poetically concluded how she was able to fulfill her responsibility: “trusting in the absence of certainty is the most essential thing to do.”

Gusman’s astonishment also reached the audiences. During intermission, two senior neuroscience students talked about being dazzled by the show. “Knowing some of the designers, hearing them talk about their ideas and then seeing the ideas actually comes to life on stage was incredible to me,” said Cory Bird, one of the wowed students. He also made comments on this year’s U-shaped stage, saying “I think the stage design was crazy too, being able to incorporate the audience within the performances was really cool.”

Miranda Milencek, one of the aforementioned student attendees, talked about her amazement in the stories behind each designer’s line, noting that her favorite was “the one with all the reused materials from around campus. I think it conveyed a really impactful story with cool visuals,” referring to the Found line, in which sophomore Jessa Westheimer and first-year Ashley Burbano used found objects around campus to sculpt garments.

In its 22nd year, Lunar Gala has become an influential uniting force that brings together talented students across the campus to create a platform that celebrates each other’s unique creativity, igniting the passion for many others, not only in clothing design, but also in the pursuit of art and beauty.