L'Appel du Vide

The French phrase l'appel du vide, literally "The Call of the Void", is notoriously difficult to translate. It is often equated to the sudden urge to leap from heights and to enter into spaces unkown. L'Appel du Vide fashion line is a modern, stylish interpretation of the golden age of space exploration.

Designed to invoke a sense of wonder and curiosity, l'Appel du Vide incorporates colorful, high-definition prints of photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope. Filled with clean lines and modern takes on traditional patterns and garmet-forms, the line is detailed with slight assymetries, cut-outs, and ombre gradients. Statement pieces incorporate flowing motion with fringe and long trains.

Designed for Lunar Gala, a spring fashion show that features the work of student designers, l'Appel du Vide was designed and sewn by Andreea Manolache (Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture '14) and I as an extracurricular project. We showed it once in February at the Lunar Gala show (video above) and again as part of an art show in Pittsburgh's Strip District in April.

Design Overview:

Andreea and I began with a mood we wanted to evoke and worked backwards from there. From a central theme of mystery, we included a subtheme of space exploration. We were very interested in the idea of untranslateable phrases and when we heard "l'Appel du Vide" it was a clear choice for both a theme and title of the line.

We picked a number of design elements that are repeated throughout l'Appel du Vide. Andreea and I played with assymetry and gradient color to suggest motion and transformation, as well as including pieces that moved in interesting ways. Initially, we proposed including motors in certain looks, but later used natural body motions to create the effects we desired. We included a lot of cut-outs and angles to emphasize dynamism, contrasted with curves suggesting mystery. Prints from Hubble Space Telescope photos accented solid color pieces, while dip-dyed fabrics stood on their own with small accent panels. Some pieces, such as the men's vest and harem pants, are inspired by vintage patterns as an intentional contrast between old and new.

Below are a few of my initial sketches:

We iterated on these sketches to refine our looks, and produced an initial proposal lookbook to detail concepts, colors, patterns, and motifs. This was what we sent to the Lunar Gala board as our application to the show.

Proposal Portfolio:

Final Product:

After another iteration, we pared down to 9 looks, swapping out the trenchcoat for a male fringe statement piece. We produced the entire line between October of 2012 and February of 2013. Most pieces include sections of hand-dyed gradient fabric or custom digital prints from printing service Spoonflower. Andreea and I both believe in the power of well-crafted, beautiful clothing, and we tried to make wearable, elegant clothing that reflected that. Below, you can see a variety of photos from our showings at Lunar Gala and RAW: Marvel:

Collaborators: Andreea Manolache

Models (in order of appearance): Essien Ohues, Alvan Mbongo, Madison Jenkins, Emma Young, Lillie Ferris, Tiffany Nguyen, Leto Karatsoli, Sameena Balram, Jettie Fields, Austin Bohn Angela McCarthy, Jiwon Choi

Makeup: Moriah Moore

Hair: DeAndre Stevenson