Luar Designer Raul Lopez’s Group Conjures up His Strategy to Vogue

ByLouise McGinnis

Oct 6, 2022

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re highlighting a trio of designers whose standout style week shows left us in awe. First up, Luar’s Raul Lopez.

The primary time I stepped right into a Luar present was in September of 2021, after founder and designer Raul Lopez had simply returned from a three-season hiatus. Though trade expectations have been excessive for Lopez—a New York native whose beautiful designs and equipment had grow to be “It” favorites for the likes of Dua Lipa and Rihanna—the friends-and-family crowd assembled contained in the industrial-style warehouse in Bushwick solely radiated with love. As soon as the present started, I watched attendees lose management like I’d by no means seen earlier than, totally enthralled by the gathering. Lopez’s imaginative and prescient of making an “previous New York” strategy to style was profitable, and constituted the best comeback of the season.

Quick-forward one yr later, to Luar’s Spring 2023 present and Lopez managed to surpass the power of his final presentation, with a crush of followers ready to enter the showcase hours earlier than it started. “Folks assume we weren’t prepared, however we have been lined up for an hour and a half,” the designer, who co-founded Hood By Air, tells W days afterward. (Lopez was additionally nominated for the CFDA’s American Accent Designer of the Yr in 2022, solely heightening his profile.) “The capability was 500, we have been already at 700, and there have been 150 folks nonetheless ready to get in… It was madness.”

Titled “La Alta Gamma” (“The Excessive Finish,” in Spanish), this season marked Lopez’s most upscale assortment but, filled with design components that have been harking back to the ’80s—elegant drop-waist clothes, outsized shoulders. However in actuality, the design decisions held far more which means for the designer’s private life. “The shoulder pads have been a illustration of me holding the load on my shoulders. That’s why they received so exaggerated,” Lopez says. “It was this factor of me sitting on the couch at events, hiding and sinking into my shoulders so I wouldn’t be seen, as a result of I used to be so flamboyant as a child. The gathering wasn’t only a nod to that period, however extra of this analogy of how I felt after I would sit in these areas with my household.” Beneath, Lopez displays on his newest work, how his upbringing is mirrored in his model, and the unconditional love he has for the Luar neighborhood.

Moving into this season’s present felt like attempting to realize entry to the most popular membership. Everybody within the crowd was buzzing with anticipation and pleasure—may you’re feeling that power?

Yeah, one hundred pc. Everybody up there, we needed to maintain telling them, “Are you able to please sit down?” Folks have been popping champagne bottles earlier than the present. It was literal pandemonium—however that’s love, in a bizarre approach. That is what I needed: for folks to know that that is for everybody. That is for the tradition. I would like everybody to be part of it. Attempt to get in.

Was there a specific piece or look you have been most excited to point out the viewers?

The primary look, a juxtaposition of the tech [jacket] and the costume, was particular as a result of it explains the narrative. My household reunions have been full of ladies coming in with these lovely robes, however then having these random tech jackets over them as a result of they couldn’t afford [anything else]. They in all probability have been a hand-me-down, like, “Oh, you simply received right here from DR? I received a jacket. Put this on.” The reference photographs have been truly my aunt’s costume after which a Spyder jacket present in my cousin’s closet.

Are you able to inform me extra concerning the creation of your signature “Ana” bag?

I had the design for a bit, however I used to be frightened of releasing it and never doing it proper as a result of I had taken that hiatus. However Brandon [Blackwood] and Telfar [Clemens, both of whom were also nominated], they have been like, “No, lady, it’s essential do that. That is fab.” The bag itself was impressed by my grandmother and my mother—that’s why it appears like just a little briefcase with the ’60s Mod handles.

What can we look ahead to accessory-wise within the upcoming season? I noticed some new bag silhouettes within the present and presumably some new eyewear.

Sure, now we have new bag shapes, belts, and new eyewear. I imply, I’m an adjunct queen. It might be designer, it might be bootleg, it might be from the streets. If it appears good, it appears good—and that to me can be luxurious. Luxurious isn’t just about value level. Luxurious is the way you carry your self, your mannerisms, and the way you current your self.

Images by Vice, courtesy of LUAR

One of many first issues I seen about LUAR, was the diehard New York following that feels strongly familial. You’ve created a protected area right here in NYC for younger Latinx creatives, which not many manufacturers or corporations are capable of obtain. What does it imply to you to domesticate such an surroundings? What does neighborhood imply to you?

The love is actual. My tribes are in every single place. I can stroll down any of those streets—New York, Paris, London, Japan—and I’ve neighborhood in every single place. That could be a model. That’s household. This has been in my DNA, since I used to be a younger child—from Hood By Air to Luar. I’m not a vocal political lady as a result of I am very old-fashioned, however babe, don’t come for my folks, as a result of I’ll actually get you collectively. I all the time say, maintain it cute and maintain it mute. I don’t care the way you establish. I don’t care what race you’re. In case you wanna be household, come by means of, we received you. You may come, so long as you respect. I simply need everybody to be liked. That’s how my mother and father raised me.

Images by Vice, courtesy of LUAR
Images by Vice, courtesy of LUAR
Images by Vice, courtesy of LUAR
Images by Vice, courtesy of LUAR

What challenges have you ever overcome to get the place you’re at this time within the trade?

I couldn’t go to style college as a result of it was [seen as] “homosexual.” It was a unique period. However I feel that by me not going, it juiced me as much as hustle more durable. I used to be sneaking into Parsons and the FIT library and standing exterior, performing like I left my ID at residence. Then, growth, go in and begin scanning books and getting references. I nonetheless go thrice per week. And even in highschool, I bear in mind being in historical past class with these huge textbooks and I might rip out the appears that they have been carrying. It was my approach of beginning my very own factor, but it surely was a weight and I saved it such a secret as a result of I couldn’t actually present it. I used to be homosexual so I might get in bother.

After I got here out, I felt lucky to have a household that truly supported me. Rising up wasn’t simple. Children at this time hear the tales of me preventing, being beat up. [I say,] use that, cost your self up, and simply maintain transferring. You’re by no means going to accommodate everybody, ever. You must perceive that you just’re a gem and folks can’t purchase each gem. Be the focal point. That’s the way you’re going to be anyone.