SPACE SHEEP: a convergence of fashion and science

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On Friday night in Morse College dining hall, aspiring fashion designer Elliy Peng ’12 cleared away the tables, formed a runway, added spotlights, and gave us even more reason to boast of Yale’s truly unique, multidimensional arts scene. In a fashion show that undergraduates, graduate students, and even Peng’s mother and brother, who flew to New Haven all the way from Taiwan, attended, Peng showcased her newest line in her first-ever solo fashion show. The show featured three separate collections, entitled, “Past, Present and Future,” that Yale students modeled.

While all of Peng’s designs were stylized, thoroughly modern, carefully composed, and geometric, the three collections built from an initial focus (“in Past”) on clean-cut, all white designs, to dresses in “Present and Future” that incorporated color, adornment and decoration. The models sported hair piled high on their heads in buns, dramatic makeup (including glitter around their eyes) and high heels to complement Peng’s designs.

The models came out and left to thunderous applause from the audience, many of whom were close friends, mentors and supporters of Peng. Olga Myssayev ’12, Peng’s close friend, stressed that the show was absolutely incredible.

“These dresses were not my normal style, but I’d like to adopt them, now that I’ve had a chance to see them on display. The music in the background this evening also went with the show perfectly.”

Accompanying the show was music composed by Dan Hansen ’12. Hansen, who has been involved in music since the age of four and now writes songs himself, was primarily interested in working on a “child-like, music box aesthetic,” as he said. Hansen collaborated very closely with Peng, a longtime friend of his, to mold this interest into a composition that would complement her collection well.

Before the music began and models strutted down the runway, Peng gave a heartfelt, thoughtful and thoroughly intelligent introduction that placed the show within the academic and personal context of Peng’s time at Yale thus far.

Peng, a physics and psychology double major who has applied to a masters program in physics, was inspired by the nature of time as she began the design process for this collection last summer.

“People always ask me how I can combine physics and fashion. There’s not really a way to combine them exactly. When I think about problems in physics, it inspires me to think of other forms of artistic expression. Time is just another dimension of space. This collection started out as an exploration of geometry, and positive and negative spaces in clothing,” said Peng.

Peng’s heartfelt, thoughtful and thoroughly intelligent introduction provided an inspiring backdrop to the show that followed. Peng’s striking ability to articulate the intersection of science and art as she sees it was the most memorable portion of the show.

Peng has always been interested in fashion design. After experimenting with various aspects of fashion design, she started formally making clothes after attending Manhattan’s Fashion Institute of Design the summer after her freshman year. After taking classes at the Institute, Peng began drafting her own patterns. All of Peng’s current designs, including those featured in “Past, Present and Future” are handmade in Peng’s Morse College dorm room.

Peng’s fashion show was made possible by a CFA (Council of Fine Arts Award) from the Council of Masters. Peng’s latest line, and more information about her work, can be found at her website, elliy.net.

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