Tightly packed in an un-air conditioned room in NYC’s Chinatown (just down the stairs from COOLS HQ, as a matter of fact), an eager crowd watched in awe as Raul Solis of LRS sent his friends down the runway sporting his SS19 collection. Take note: the shock factor was not due to the fact that the models were friends of Solis, it had more to do with the clown makeup worn by one and aggressive, emotive walks down the runway by others.
“We cast our friends—people we completely admire and love,” Solis said. “We built their clothes and their looks based on them, so however they felt like walking, that’s… more ‘them.’”
This model behavior perfectly highlighted the angsty chaos that was the LRS collection. Defined by see-through cover-ups, basic denim, and on-trend streetwear elements from hoodies to cargo pants, the collection was complete with ghost faces cut out of oversized t-shirts, devil ears crafted onto hoods, shirts painted onto models’ bodies, and geometric cutouts strategically designed within garments.
“I think with every collection, I always look at the youth for inspiration,” Solis told COOLS after the show. “It’s the idea of me getting older—I wanted to hold onto that youth, that energy.”
“The bigger outline was controlled chaos,” Solis continued. “I think that youth has a lot of that in how they are completely chaotic, completely irrational. But today, young people are so controlled in the same way, like they are doing crazy, irrational situations but they are also very smart, very focused and very involved and so it felt like there were elements that we could pull from that to build a really wacky collection.”
Solis tried to find a balance within conflicting notions throughout the LRS collection. Inspired by the duality between chaos and control, he incorporated design elements that showcased the search for equilibrium.
“We have been considering negative space, black matter, things that are not visible, but you feel them,” he explained. “So to convey this, we brought in circles surrounded by negative space, to balance out the circle cutouts in the center of pieces in my previous collection. I thought this way we could do it the other way, where the negative energy throughout, but your center is still very full.”