No, kids, it's not a debutant ball for celestial lifeforms. It's not a bourgeoisie stargazing festival, and nobody is auctioning off the moon. Lunar Gala (LG) is Carnegie Mellon University's student-produced fashion show, devoted to all things visually provocative, and it celebrated 20 years of avant-garde design this past weekend.

If you don't go to Carnegie Mellon, you may have heard about this elite spectacle from a gang of Koreans smoking cigarettes outside of an overpriced thrift shop. I can't tell you their sources, but they always know what's up. If you do go to Carnegie Mellon, then you probably recognize Lunar Gala to be the most well oiled machine on campus (sorry, robotics department). You're also likely preparing for the monsoon of LG photos that will be storming your news feeds in the next coming weeks. Brace for the flood.

Lunar Gala is always an unparalleled visual miracle, and this year was no exception. Saturdays can be hectic though, so don't fret if you slept through the alarm on your phone or if you just didn't have enough spare coin to secure a ticket. Take my hand and let me take you through the magic carpet ride that was this year's LG show, Strain.

Lunar Gala 2016 opened up with an impressive display of what you might see if you grew the bubonic plague's trendy older sister in a petri dish for a few months. Their optics are always stelar, but this year I seriously felt as though I was losing my grip on reality. The two are hopefully correlated.

The theme this year was "Strain," defined as the evolution of a form in response to pressure, tension, and constriction in order for an organism to survive.

Appropriately enough, the first line out of the gates transported you to the year 3016 with "Polymorphism," by Richard Chou and Katherine Zhao. Humans finally died out, and the only surviving species seems to be a hybrid between bicycle spokes and those fish you see when you accidentally scuba dive into another dimension.


The next line, "Cymatics," by Anna Gusman and Ariana Nathani looked like some almighty deity picked up a pair of scissors and decided to make snowflakes for an arts and crafts fair.


Cymatics also featured this unearthly dress that I've been dreaming about with troubling intensity. Am I hungry? Am I in love? I just want to put my hands on it.


"The Barracks," by Linny Tan took over next to explore the role of androgyny in fashion. The models themselves were only on stage for a few minutes, but their legs went on for days.

"Dauntless" by Eunice Oh, Katherine Wang, and Yuru Yao made me feel as though I had taken a tumble down the wrong Amazonian rabbit hole. This line is one of my favorites because these models look like they won't hesitate to take a samurai sword to your neck if you stop painting the roses red.


"Abraxas," by Melissa Zucker, Catherine Zang, and Shanna Chan proved true to the CMU creed, finding beauty in mathematical modeling software. The allure in these shapes was easy to grasp, no office hours necessary.



"Imperatrice," by Angela Liang, Shannon Lin, and Hilary Lai celebrated the only woman to rule China, Wu Zetian. All hail.

"Filigree," by Noa Fineout took advantage of themes seen in deconstructed antique garments. Was this what Marie Antoinette envisioned when she said, "let them eat cake?" Of corset was.


"Xoaix," by Becki Liu plays with the colors in the south of France, and looks like what aristocrats will be wearing in the near dystopian future. In an alternate universe this finale dress is also on clearance in an Anthropology for $400.


"Pom," by Emily Mongilio and Lily Fulop made me giddy for many reasons. The main reason being that I was actively repressing my inner feline impulse to leap on stage and bat ferociously at all those swinging balls.


"Decay," by Michelle Li entertained a fairytale-esque whimsy inside me. The line gave off the impression that you stepped into the woods and were adopted by a squadron of horned and feathered creatures. I chose to feature the outfit below because it looks like a super decedent cannoli.


"Crest," by Sophie Parrinello took you right back to the seventies with these psychedelic tie dye patterns. Light some incense and take as long as you need to find these outfits. Sophie knew they would be outta' sight.



"Corpus," by Rachel Chang and Christine Shen played with vulnerability and protection in relationships, but more importantly included this awesome dress made entirely out of hair. Is it definitely barbie hair? Probably not. Do I want to rub my sticky candy fingers all over it until it's a matted mess like I did to my old barbies? Hell yeah.

"Fukkatsu," by Cindy Hsu and Sharon Yu was absolutely my favorite line of LG 2016. Really take a few minutes to look at these pants and tell me that this isn't the awesome realization of a cartoon Japanese mobster. If that model decides to spin around repeatedly, then she'll become an unstoppable human dreidel, and anyone near her will get smacked away like a real life game of Bakugan. Fashion meets function.


"Exuviae," by Noopur Suckhlecha, Jenny Wong, and Marnfah Kanjanavanit was so cool because it brought you back to that first time you saw melted plastic. Maybe you put something in the microwave that you weren't supposed to. Maybe you realized your water bottle didn't like your dad's lighter. Either way, these exoskeletons awoke your sleeping mad scientist.


"Erode," by Zai Aliyu, Kate Werth, and Jonathan Lopez explored evolving landscapes in dramatic black and white. It appears that the empire waist has fallen, but I gave in to the dark side a while back because it hides stains better.


"Sanctum," by Sasha Kerbel and Madalyn Gryger finished up this years show, delving into the boundaries that can emerge from living with a mental illness. No quips for this one. Watch out for the stress culture, fam.


Intermixed with these lines were three incredible dances and video commentary by producers, designers, and models. Truly, it's a group effort that always allows the LG experience to be so encompassing and professional.

There. Almost like you were there, isn't it? Ultimately, Lunar Gala is spectacular every year because of all these passionate Carnegie Mellon students that come together to prove one thing; that they're way cooler than everyone else. There's no motivator more powerful, besides maybe a swank new profile picture.