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Models of the Month: Graham Arthur and Leah Ettensohn
November 18, 2017

It’s already mid-November which means Lunar Gala’s models are 30 hours of practice closer to the February show! This year’s fantastic group can always count on new models Graham Arthur and Leah Ettensohn to bring energy and positivity to every practice.

Graham is a senior from Jersey City double majoring in Economics and Statistics with an International Relations minor.  His favorite place to be is Haywoods Beach in Barbados, which may have something to do with the fact his family is from Barbados!  In the future, Graham hopes to go into some form of policy consulting, but for next year, he has plans for graduate school.  

Graham is very involved with multiple organizations on campus.  He dances for SoulStylz and Dancer’s Symposium, is a Camp Kesem counselor, and is a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.  Graham’s “one prized possession” in his closet is a black pea coat that he purchased in London. “That saw me through some dope times” he says.  

Graham decided to audition for LG this year because he has always been impressed by the production value of the show and wanted to be a part of it before he graduated.  He has been enjoying his LG modeling career so far and reflects that it has helped him learn how to exercise self control in his face, strides, and movements.  “On the flip side”, he says, “to have all that self control, you really have to relax and be silly in your down time”.  His favorite moments have been “goofing off with fellow models during breaks”.  Graham can’t wait to get to wear his designers “one-of-a kind” creations soon. 

Pittsburgh native Leah is a sophomore working towards a major in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience.  In the future, she hopes to contribute to psychology research in order to “improve people’s quality of life”.  Her favorite place to be is Frick Park in the Fall and Spring – she loves the foliage and feels relaxed there.

In her spare time, Leah enjoys Pilates, yoga, dance, thrift shopping, watching movies, photography, and spending time with her family, friends, and cat.  One cute fun fact about her is that when she was 8 years old, she had her first kiss with Hunter the sea lion at the Cape Cod aquarium!  Leah’s ideal day is a Saturday when she doesn’t have to study and can spend the day working out, eating good food, and spending time with her friends. 

Leah knew she wanted to join LG after attending last year’s show.  She has a background in ballet and finds that modeling and ballet have a lot of similarities when it comes to posture and body control. Her favorite part of LG has been meeting the other LG models and she says that “everyone is so encouraging and fun”.  Leah is looking forward to seeing the designers’ sketches come to life and is “pumped to show off their hard work on the runway”.  

Fashion has always been one of Leah’s interests.  She is an avid Project Runway fan and had the opportunity to visit Mood Fabric Store in New York where the show is filmed.  She says “it was crazy for me to stand where Tim Gunn does”.  As for her personal style, Leah can’t live without her favorite skinny jeans.  She has a unique personal style and doesn’t draw fashion inspiration from only one person.  Some of her celebrity fashion icons are Amanda Seyfried, Kendall Jenner, and Zendaya.  Her non-celebrity fashion icon? Her roommate!

***A big thank you to everyone who has contributed to Lunar Gala Crowdfunding thus far.  We have met 80% of our goal with only one week left! Please consider donating at https://www.gofundme.com/lunargala 

The Birth of Lunar Gala
November 4, 2017

Lunar Gala was started in 1997 by Jimmy Chiang, who was both the founder and first-ever producer of the show. The theme of the first Lunar Gala show was high fashion, featuring retailers such as Moda and other Luxury Brands like Hugo Boss and Armani.

Today’s CMU students probably cannot imagine the show being anywhere besides Weigand Gym, but the first LG show was in the hallway of the CFA building alongside its beautiful marble and sculptures. Jimmy and the first LG crew (made up of a mix of several student organizations on campus) transformed the place with lighting and drapery to mimic the look of a NYC fashion show. The next year, they made LG into an exclusive event and it became the most highly anticipated event of the year. For this show, the theme was “chic and panache”, and it was also the first show to incorporate student designs. Not only did models walk the runway, they even incorporated some acting into the show to keep it interesting.

Jimmy’s vision was to put on an event that brought the CMU community together to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Part of Lunar New Year tradition is wearing new clothes, so “what better way to celebrate than having a fashion show and party?” says Jimmy. He also drew inspiration from his love of “fashion, design, Europe, and Euro Music”.

Jimmy’s greatest desire for the first Lunar Gala show was to bring the CMU community together. “It was kind of a reason for us to reach out beyond our comfortable circles of friends and student organizations. Lunar Gala gave us that ability to extend ourselves through music, fashion, and a common love for celebration”. Jimmy’s legacy has certainly been honored: Lunar Gala has continued to be one of the most diverse and celebrated student organizations on campus.

LG Spotlight: Entertainment Team
October 22, 2017

Why is entertainment such an important part of the Lunar Gala show? In the words of Entertainment Director Daniel See Yongxin, “it provides a different artistic form for the audience to connect to, and it allows [the dancers] to use [their] creativity and bodies to build on the theme and emotions that the lines and models convey”.

Daniel See Yongxin

Daniel and his co-director, Serris Lew, have been hard at work choreographing cohesive performances that help portray the LG theme. The talented group of twenty-three LG dancers meet twice a week. At these rehearsals, the group likes to throw in dance exercises and games to keep the practices fun and engaging. Daniel and Serris also enjoy incorporating improv exercises in order to get to know the dancers’ styles – they like to use their dancers’ personal styles as inspiration for their choreography. Later in the semester, Daniel and Serris will be implementing more theatrical training to help the dancers better convey emotion and expression while performing. Daniel “really can’t wait to showcase [the dancers’] skills and talents”, while Serris is “looking forward to learning from the dancers”.

Serris Lew

At the show in February, the LG dancers will be performing one hip-hop piece and another contemporary piece. There will also be performances from Carnegie Mellon organizations Soulstylz and Infra Dance Company, who Daniel and Serris coordinate performances with to make sure that the narrative of the show is consistent.

See below for some behind the scene photos from practice:

LG Spotlight: Four Year Veterans
October 8, 2017

LG’s longstanding legacy is a reflection of its passionate members.  This blog post features some of LG’s most dedicated members: seniors Amy Chen, Sabrina Chang, and AJ Jeffs, who have been involved with LG since their freshman year.  

After two years as a model, Amy Chen took on a bigger role in LG last year as a Model Coordinator for the 2017 show.  This year, she decided to take more of a backseat role after three years of modeling but still remains very involved in LG as the PR team’s Press Liaison.  Amy says that every year she “can’t help but become more involved and invested in the club because it really is such an amazing and dedicated community of people”.  

Amy in LG 2015: Vestige

Amy’s college experience “would not have been the same without LG”.  For her, it is “that perfect activity to spice things up a little” when she gets too wrapped up in work.  It is more than just a fun outlet for stress relief and she has learned invaluable life skills such as “confidence, poise, and the ability to perform under pressure”. Most importantly, she says, she’s gained “a great support system of friends”.  

LG 2017: Sonder

While Amy says her best memories from LG are with the friends she’s met, her best on-stage memory is the first time she opened a line as a freshman.  The line was a lingerie and business wear mix and she still happily remembers the excitement she felt when she first stepped onto the runway.   

LG 2015: Vestige

This year will be Sabrina Chang’s fourth year as a model.  Sabby says that every year has been a different experience because “each year the board is filled with different types of people, which really affects the vibe of the time”.  Last year, Sabby was on the LG board as a Model Coordinator.  

Sabby has loved how LG has given her the opportunity to meet new people from all majors every year.  This year as a senior, she is glad that she is able to meet underclassmen that she otherwise wouldn’t have been able to interact with.  Like Amy, Sabby uses LG as a “unique break from the stresses of CMU”.

Sabrina in LG 2015: Vestige

As for her favorite runway memory, Sabby will never forget when she closed a line last year designed by two of her friends, Sommer Farber and Emily Mongilio.  She says “it was a great feeling getting to help them show off their hard work and talent”.

LG 2017: Sonder

During her four years in LG, AJ Jeffs has been one of the most versatile members of LG.  She modeled as a freshman and sophomore and was a designer and Social Media chair as a junior.  This year, she will be a model once again and is also on the LG board as the head of PR.  She says that she keeps coming back every year because “the excitement during the week of the show is so much fun that [she] couldn’t imagine not being a part of LG”.

AJ in LG 2016: Strain

AJ’s best memory from LG is from her sophomore year when her designer put her in a gown which made her feel “like a princess”.  She also is grateful for the many friends that she has made during her four years.  

LG 2017: Sonder

LG Spotlight: Production Team
September 23, 2017

In the words of Production Designer Sam Molitoriss, “without the Production Team, the models would be walking in a empty shell of a room. We take a blank canvas and transform it into an exciting space”.

Lunar Gala’s Production Team is responsible for executing the Creative Team’s theme into the ambiance of the show, meaning they are in charge of the placement of objects in the room, as well as music and lighting. Working closely with the Creative Team, the Production Team aims to create a cohesive and theme-oriented show this year.

Sam got involved last year as the Broadcast Director because he was interested in fashion show production and wanted the experience of working on a large-scale event at CMU. He is a junior studying Lighting Design in the School of Drama.

Production Manager and three-time LG veteran Kenny Cohen is a junior Information Systems major. In high school, he was involved with a fashion program in Los Angeles. When he got to CMU as a freshman, Kenny knew he wanted to get involved with LG because of his past experience working on fashion shows. While Kenny is involved with many different productions on campus, he says “Lunar Gala is one of [his] favorites because of the flexibility and creativity of the production”.

At the beginning of the process, the Production Team is made up of just three people: a Production Manager, Production Designer, and Sound Designer. The Production Designer creates everything about the set-up of the show, including how the lights look, where the audience sits, and where the runway is placed. Dealing mostly with budgetary and logistical concerns is the role of the Production Manager, who is also in charge of implementing the Production Designer’s vision. The Sound Designer works with the designers to select music for their lines and designs the audience experience with sound. As the process of creating the show goes on, the Production Team will bring on more members from AB Tech fulfill many other roles such as Lighting Designer, Stage Manager, and Media Designer.

***Thank you to everyone who came out for model auditions this week! Our next deadlines are coming up soon: dance auditions are this Sunday, September 24, and design applications due Thursday, September 28!

Get Involved with LG!
September 9, 2017

If you’re on this website, you’re probably either already involved with LG, or you’re interested in getting involved.  So, this post is here to tell you to put any doubts you might have aside and join one of the biggest traditions at CMU that unites the most eclectic and talented people on campus.

Design for LG

LG gives designers from all academic disciplines a venue to design and construct an entire collection with no creative restrictions.  Noa Wolff Fineout has been designing for LG since her freshman year.  Now a senior, she still remembers “the incredible pride [she] experienced” her first year “walking on stage at the end of the show and being overwhelmed by how professional and grand every aspect of LG seemed from stage”.  As Head Design Coordinator, Noa enjoys helping designers from initial creative process to their final products.  

Being an LG designer is an extensive time commitment.  The design board offers two two-hour workshops per week, and designers are expected to make their collection on their own time.  “You will need to be motivated and have a great energy throughout the entire process” Noa says.  However, if you’re up for the challenges of being a LG designer, Noa promises “you will feel so elated when you see the amazing things you are capable of creating”.  

Model for LG

LG 2018 will be veteran Ruhani Mumick’s third year as a LG model.  She auditioned to model for LG as a freshman because she wanted to find an activity unrelated to academics at CMU.  Ruhani loves how much confidence she has built through her LG experience.  As Head Model Coordinator this year, she is excited to share her love for LG with new members, and encourages the CMU students to audition for modeling “for some new friends, confidence, and the thrill of being on stage”.  To aspiring models, Ruhani says “there is nothing more beautiful than confidence; posture and a good smize can go a long way”.  

Models work closely with designers and get to experience the design process firsthand.  “The mutual excitement between the designer seeing their look on a model and a model seeing themselves in a piece of art is so rewarding”, Ruhani says.  The time commitment for a Lunar Gala model is two to four hours of practice a week.  While four hours may seem like a lot of time, the modeling board keeps practices fun and engaging with a variety of activities.  

Dance for LG

The incorporation of dance in the show is what makes LG Pittsburgh’s most unique and impressive fashion event.  This year’s Entertainment Directors Daniel See Yongxin and Serris Lew are aiming to make this year’s dance numbers will “compliment the lines and add more spice and jazz to the show”.  Daniel and Serris are working with the rest of the LG board to create a show that is thematically linked from the models to the dancers.  

Daniel and Serris encourage anyone thinking of trying out to dance in LG to just go for it!  “Don’t worry if you’re a newbie, just try out!”  Daniel says, “We’re really open and inclusive so it’s a safe zone”.  Serris believes that “dance is an art” and wants LG dancers to be able to “express and showcase their talent and art”. LG dance commitment is one or two practices a week for about an hour, and will get more intensive leading up to the day of the show, but Daniel and Serris are making it their priority to make LG dance as stress-free and fun as possible.  

So get involved now! Come to our Info Session on September 11 (CUC Danforth Conference Room at 5:30) and remember to check the “About” tab for more important dates.

 

What is LG?
August 27, 2017

Every February, the Carnegie Mellon community comes together for Pittsburgh’s largest student-run fashion show: Lunar Gala. Wiegand Gym, where one typically finds people dribbling basketballs, is transformed into a dimly lit venue with hundreds of chairs surrounding a long runway.

The attendees of the event are mostly students, who opt to wear something different from a college student’s typical casual-wear and instead come dressed in their most fashionable outfits. Some of them carry flowers or balloons for their favorite model or designer. The fancy garb and excitement of the spectators set the tone for the extravagance of the show that is about to start.

One by one, stony-faced models strut slowly down the runway. The models represent individuality through their wide array of different body types and backgrounds. However, the confidence and self-assurance each model radiates is what makes them homogenous.

After each model flaunts his or her clothing at the end of the runway, they make one more lap around the stage together in single-file. Their eyes are directed forwards, staring at the back of the head of the person in front of them as they walk in perfect synchronization. Following them are the designers of the line: their smiles and waves to the audience contrast the icy composure of the models.

The entire show is comprised of a multitude of different lines, each exuding a new vibe. Every line has a distinct theme which connects even the most contrasting outfit pieces together. These themes are often derived from a personal backstory; the end results can be seen as the designers’ personal narratives. In some lines, the music is upbeat and cheery and the models walk with a spring in their step and a glint in their eyes. In others, the music is forlorn and the models walk slowly with somber expressions.

Every few lines are split up with performances from dance groups made up of Carnegie Mellon’s most elite dancers. The quick, agile, and supple moves of the dancers are a divergence from the controlled movements of the models. The incorporation of both dance and modeling in the same show gives the audience a sense of yin and yang.

A spectator would never guess how many people, who never once step foot on the runway, are integral to the production of the show. The show would be impossible to pull off without the tech team working behind the scenes. The tech team has expansive tasks which include lighting, music, and the incredibly critical timing of the show. In fact, if you’ve ever wondered how the models know when it’s their turn to walk, there are two tech people backstage controlling the spacing and timing of the models.

It is no wonder that Lunar Gala is one of the most anticipated events at Carnegie Mellon each year. Start the 2017-2018 year off right by learning about how you can be part of this incredible event. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved through modeling, designing, and dancing. A full schedule is on the Lunar Gala website under the “About” tab; note that the first LG Info Session is coming up on September 11.

Reflections of a Past Producer: Hannah Pileggi
August 11, 2017

Past LG producer, Hannah Pileggi, has been keeping busy since graduating in 2011. Following her graduation, the Pittsburgh native went to work for Nielsen as a consultant for Proctor and Gamble. She went back to school to start a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction at Georgia Tech and ended up leaving after two years with her Masters to start working full time at Facebook. There, Pileggi worked as a Researcher on a wide range of projects. Currently, she is a Research Manager for Airbnb Trips, Airbnb’s newest initiative.

Pileggi looks back on her LG days with nostalgia. She was involved with the event every year during her time at CMU. Before becoming a producer, Hannah was a model and a secretary. She says being a producer was “like the exclamation point at the end of an incredible sentence.” For her, the most rewarding aspect of being a producer was fostering the LG community.

The eclectic and collaborative nature of LG is something that has helped Pileggi since graduating. “You need to learn to interact and collaborate with people who are different from you… for the rest of your life!” she says. LG helped her learn about disciplines and backgrounds that she wouldn’t have otherwise, and she still remembers doing her statistics homework at practice alongside design friends sketching out ideas. Hannah credits LG for giving her an “incredible network of friends from different corners of campus,” many of whom have lasted beyond college. Amazingly, one of the bridesmaids at Hannah’s wedding is a friend she made during LG – one of the designers for the 2009 show!

Even though Hannah hasn’t been back to see a show since graduating, she is hoping that she can finally make it back for 2018. To this year’s producers, she says she understands that “it can end up feeling like a full time job on top of being a full time student.” However, she urges them to remember that “the way the community works together to produce the show is essential. You don’t have to do it all alone”.

LG Spotlight: Creative
July 29, 2017

Made up of the some of the most talented and innovative students Carnegie Mellon has to offer, the Creative Team is at the heart of what makes Lunar Gala so unique. The five subteams within Creative  are headed by coordinators Noah Johnson (Print), Raphaël Weikart (Motion), Anqi Wan (Brand), Sara Remi Fields (Web), and Deborah Lee (Experience).

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Web Coordinator, Sara Remi Fields & Brand Designer, Anqi Wan

Creative Director Faith Kaufman, who oversees Creative by acting as a liaison between Creative and the Producers and coordinating the directions of the five subteams, couldn’t have more praise for the Coordinators. She describes them as “the best of the best” and “the perfect blend of imaginative and productive”(Learn more about Faith in our July 1 post!). As a more general goal, Creative will be working on ways to make the 2018 show more seamless and immersive through design.

As soon as the team formed in late Spring, they started collaborating to decide on the theme of LG 2018. This summer, the team is spread out across the country, but they’re not letting their locations stop them: they have been making immense strides in building the design of the LG brand and defining the theme. In the words of their director, Faith, “Creative has had a super powerful start to the year.”

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Creative Director, Faith Kaufman & Experience Coordinator, Deborah Lee

PRINT

The Print Team works with ideas inspired by the rest of Creative to produce printed material out of ideas. They are led by Print Coordinator Noah Johnson, whose job is to knead his team’s creative talent into what he describes as a “single body of cohesive work.” He is excited for the collaborative nature of his position, saying “it’s a pleasure getting to interact with their work.”

This year will be Noah’s second on Print. He joined Lunar Gala after seeing the show, and has an enthusiastic description of his first LG experience, “it totally blew me away and I felt like I had to get in on it”! Noah is a Communication Design Major and is working at Fjord in New York as a Visual Design intern this summer.

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Print Coordinator, Noah Johnson

MOTION

Lunar Gala’s Motion Coordinator, Raphaël Weikart, is also interning in New York at a consulting firm called Doblin-Deloitte. As a design major, Raphaël hopes to work in an area of design called Service Design when he graduates, but his real dream is to illustrate children’s books.

Raphaël leads the Motion Team which has dubbed themselves the “Video Vixens.” Their main task is crafting the background graphics for the runway and producing promotional videos for the show. Raphaël also stresses the collaborative nature of Creative’s work, saying that they’re “constantly influencing each other” by providing creative input and seeking feedback from the rest of Creative “every step of the way.”

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Motion Coordinator, Raphaël Weikart

BRAND

Anqi Wan serves as Brand Designer and works with all of Creative to define the look and feel of Lunar Gala this year. She has already facilitated a meeting to begin ideating concepts for this year’s theme and has recently been compiling visual inspiration for it. She finds it both challenging and rewarding to distill a big theme into a cohesive visual language.

As a Design Major with an additional major in Human-Computer Interaction, Anqi is working at at LinkedIn in Sunnyvale, CA this summer. This year will be her first as part of Lunar Gala, and she is already enjoying it. Describing the Creative Team as “excited and encouraging”, Anqi finds it “rewarding to work with a group of such creative people.”

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WEB TEAM

Led by Web Coordinator and LG veteran Sara Remi Fields, Web works on the more computational side of design and is in charge of the online presence of Lunar Gala. This team designs, codes, and creates the websites for LG. Working closely with the different subteams in Creative is important in order to make sure that the website is cohesive with the rest of the LG design system. Like her fellow members of Creative, Sara Remi is “really excited to be working in tandem with amazing designers on Creative.”

Sara Remi describes herself as “the median point between developers and designers” and says that the Creative Team is “a very fluid team in that though we may be on opposite sides of the spectrum, we all have interests in the entire web process, and we want to help each other in any way we can.” As a Communication Design Major with an additional major in Human-Computer Interaction and a minor in Business, Sara Remi has aspirations to go into branding and interactive design. This summer she is in San Francisco, interning at LinkedIn as a User Experience Designer.

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EXPERIENCE

The Experience Team is relatively new to Lunar Gala and its concept is a broad one. It is in charge of all things experience related, which can include the experience of day-of-show-attendees, the experience of someone who approaches the Lunar Gala table at the activities fair, the audition experience, buying tickets for the show, the buildup of hype for the show – the list goes on and on! Experience works closely with the rest of Creative – especially Brand – to match the show experience with the theme. Many of their duties will be spontaneous and they expect that they will be helping out other members of Creative whenever need be.

Experience is made up of just two designers, one of which is the Experience Coordinator, Deborah Lee. Like Anqi, Sara Remi, and Faith, Deborah is interning at LinkedIn this summer as a UX design intern. In her spare time, she has been keeping up with artistic pursuits – she enjoys designing tattoos for her friends and maintaining her art Tumblr and Instagram (follow her: @jdebbiel)! At CMU, she is a Communications Design and HCI double major with a minor in animation and is working towards getting a masters in HCI.

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With such an exceptional Creative Team, there is no doubt that LG 2018 will prove to be one of the most amazing shows yet. Get ready for some exciting releases and surprises coming in late August and early Fall!