If contemporary New York was a fashion brand, it would look something like Luar. Diasporic, corporate, glamorous, and femme all at once, the young label has in just a couple of seasons outlined a returning posse of delightfully heterogeneous personas who delight in power, fame and fun. From the offices of Midtown to the Hasidic Jewish community centers of Williamsburg, from the ballrooms of Harlem to the galleries of the Lower East Side, Luar reads as a scrambled, social topography of the city, a sartorial image that only a native New Yorker would be able to procure.
Indeed, Luar’s founder and creative director Raul Lopez hails from Williamsburg, where he still works and lives. A fashion autodidact of Dominican descent, he began making garments at the age of twelve and soon began traversing the clubs and parties of Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood. In the mid-2000s, he helped Shayne Oliver establish Hood by Air, and it is perhaps his early involvement with the (now) ubiquitous NYC brand that makes Luar’s deconstructed, high-drama silhouettes feel so familiar, so appealing. Occupying various design roles in the city between the worlds of nightlife and fashion, he later launched his (reversed) namesake label Luar Zepol, but after taking a two-year hiatus, he was re-born simply as Luar. For his SS18 collection, the brand’s first formal presentation, he presented a subversive musing into High Corporate Aesthetics, manifesting through a portfolio of ‘80s power suits and crisp white button-down shirts, dis-and re-assembled and juxtaposed with Pony fur bodysuits showing lots of skin—all kept in a sophisticated palette of neutrals and occasionally embellished with rhinestone crystals outlining his romantically cursive logo.