A new “It” bag is about to hit the internet.
Luar’s “Ana” crossbody bag, which debuted on the brand’s New York Fashion Week runway in September and has already been spotted on Dua Lipa, Troye Sivan and Kelsey Lu, will drop tomorrow.
The bag — a nuanced cross between a lady-like, vintage top-handle bag and an ’80s corporate briefcase — will be made available on Luar’s site, Luar.World, at noon on Friday.
It will come in five colorways: Espresso or black smooth leather, each priced at $235; a navy and white embossed patent crocodile pattern, an iridescent silver python embossed leather and a tan ostrich embossed leather, each priced at $265.
The bag marks Luar designer Raul Lopez’s return following a two-year hiatus from the runway. During the time away, Lopez — who had been consulting for the Palm Heights Resort and living onsite in the Cayman Islands for about 18 months during the pandemic — gained new perspective about his goals as a designer.
“I was on hiatus for two years,” Lopez said. “Before, I think I was really just thinking of designing for my friends and trying to prove a point to everyone. My friends are really amazing artists and designers and stylists — they all work in fashion and art. I really needed a break to get myself together. I’m done just trying to be an artist. I need to make some money to keep funding myself, so I sat back for two years figuring that out,” added the designer, who grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn — surrounded by a clash of cultures that continue to influence his work today.
Throughout his career, Lopez — the cofounder of Hood by Air — has been a behind-the-scenes sounding board for some of fashion’s biggest independent success stories. He acts as both a friend and confidante to designers like Telfar Clemens, Brandon Blackwood and Kerby Jean-Raymond, as well as talents like Paloma Elsesser, Lourdes Leon and Solange Knowles. But despite his devoted list of contacts, outsized personality and sharp taste, Lopez had yet to find the wider commercial success that many feel he is due.
With his latest collection though, it seems like that could be about to change. While Luar remains an artful and experimental brand, it now includes more commercial items that still maintain a sense of authenticity. Owing to his New York roots, the designer has layered in a sense of the city’s fashion culture from both past and present — with structured tailoring recalling the ’80s new money excess, along with tracksuits that touch on street culture and how it has evolved from the ’70s, through early the Aughts and then back around again today.
Lopez is something of an oracle, able to sniff out trends in their earliest stage. And he felt like this was the moment to jump into the handbag category, sensing that women were about to start reallocating their shopping budgets from “It” shoes toward handbags once pandemic restrictions lifted. According to a study issued by the NPD Group, that’s exactly what’s happening — particularly with small crossbody styles like Luar’s new Ana.
“I love the whole thing of a bag — to me it just solidifies you as a designer, I don’t know why. Every big house has its signature bag and everyone goes to them for that. It’s a way of taking a piece of you and having it travel the world — sharing my story with the world,” Lopez said.
“I think bags are a new way of dressing up,” added the designer. “A lot of men and women have taken the whole shoe thing of dressing up or down with shoes and carried that over to a bag. A bag just replaced that — now I can wear a bag with everything and dress myself up and have fun.”
Over the past few months, Lopez spent time with family in the Dominican Republic, researching how commercial brands spin a sense of aspiration to resonate with women of varying income brackets. Ultimately, he says that Michael Kors was an inspiration in how to move forward into the next chapter of his label.
“I was just doing a lot of research into what sells the most and why. I decided I want to make luxury at a Michael Kors entry level — he has the whole game on lock,” Lopez said.
“It’s so crazy, I realized — ‘This man is really doing something.’ I went to the DR and in the hood they had the little flats with the little charms and small little bags — all Michael Kors,” Lopez said, owing his more accessible price point to Kors’ business structure.
While a limited drop of Ana bags will be released tomorrow, more are on the horizon — including a jumbo size of the style.