Raul Lopez’s Luar is within an arm’s distance of the big leagues, and he’s leaning into lifelong experiences to see him through to his dream.
The designer’s childlike sense of wonder and enthusiasm led him down a nostalgic path this season — one that explores visual codes from his upbringing, and touched on fashion references from an ’80s and ’90s New York City where the wealth gap was encoded into people’s wardrobe choices.
He sent out what was an amalgamation of references from his childhood — pumped-up blazers with proportions recalling ’80s Wall Street bankers; deflated black puffer coats that had been worn too many winters; an uptown primness, and simple, working-class wardrobes that surrounded him while growing up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
“This season was inspired by my family reunion when I was growing up in the ’80s and ’90s,” he said backstage. “My family migrated to America from the Dominican Republic and had this sense of what nouveau riche American luxury was. It was Latina Elizabeth Taylor. This collection gives a sense of what they thought was luxury.”
The mix was indicative of what Lopez has previously described to WWD as his formative reality — the child of immigrants who, while proud of his heritage, was always looking across the Williamsburg Bridge and idolizing the upper crust.
For Lopez, this was most clearly translated in looks with opulent, jet black beaded evening gowns — each obscured by cropped, industrial puffer coats. “To me [women in my family] were making the best of what they had. It was the Columbia winter jacket with the evening gown going to the party. It didn’t matter what they wore to get there, it was about after they walked in. But to me, it was that vortex of the jacket over the evening gown that made sense. The juxtaposition between both of them was it,” he said.
His “Ana” bag, which has been a success and brought new commercial life to his brand, was supersized this season as a weekender. There were new slouchy “Sack” bags that could also bring in sales, plus fresh belts and eyewear.
Looking down at his models’ feet, a heeled clog and buckled mary jane looked to be the next projects on Lopez’s agenda but he declined any additional information aside from a wide grin.