In an interview with Vogue Italia, Raul Lopez, the Dominican born, New York City raised designer of Luar, once said that without music and art, there is no fashion. Referring to these three cultural pillars as the “holy trinity”, he called upon the divine as he brought his AW 2018 collection to the runway and to life. A fixture in the downtown New York City community, the co-founder of Hood by Air, drew crowds of today’s glitterati and as they filed in to take their seats, it was only to realize they were seated by or across from a familiar face, and better yet, a friend.
“I’ve been in a dark place and I wanted to reference myself for this collection because it just felt like the right thing to do,” said Lopez in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily when the unavoidable question of inspiration arose. As the lights dimmed and the music shifted the atmosphere from one of camaraderie to one of an inward facing introspection, Jewel’s angelic but pained voice swept the airwaves… “She’s an ugly girl, does it make you want to kill her? She’s an ugly girl, do you want to kick in her face? She’s an ugly girl, she doesn’t pose a threat. She’s an ugly girl, does that make you feel safe? Ugly girl, ugly girl do you hate her/ ‘Cause she’s pieces of you?” Nothing happened, no models appeared, a projection on an empty screen seemed to flicker. People shifted in their seats, unzipped a jacket, checked their phones. Jewel continued, “You say he’s a faggot, does it make you want to hurt him? You say he’s a faggot, do you want to kick in his brains? You say he’s a faggot, does he make you sick to your stomach? You say he’s a faggot, are you afraid you’re just the same? Faggot, Faggot do you hate him/ ‘Cause he’s pieces of you?”
The music broke to reveal bass, models donning reworked silhouettes of the familiar, sheer organza, stilts even. It was jarring, you wanted to take more than one look but perhaps like the inner turmoil that Lopez was sitting with, the only way to process what came and went was through hindsight. While the designs did not stray from Luar’s avant-garde ethos, the collection proved to be a continued conversation with collection’s past. As fashion today often forgets that innovation is not always synonymous with progression, it was refreshing to see a designer take the time to communicate with himself as a means for rumination and ultimately, catharsis. In referencing himself, Lopez inevitably spoke to his community, a necessary reminder to the fact that although times may appear casted in shadow, no man is an island, we are never truly facing anything alone.