Luar’s fall/winter 2023 collection
Ral Lopez was under pressure the day before he performed the New York Fashion Week closing show. The expectations are higher right now, and I’m content, he stated while seated inside the Faurschou New York gallery. I feel like I’m getting respected as a result of my hard work, ten years of doing this, and my ass-busting attitude.
The historic event of Luar’s fall concert seems to have drawn all of New York to Greenpoint on Wednesday night. A door outside the gallery was so jam-packed that someone compared it to a mosh pit; inside, there was a full house. Without a question, this was the season’s biggest event. Given the stakes, it makes sense that Lopez looked to the women he met in his neighbourhood of origin for inspiration (that would be Williamsburg, not too far from the Greenpoint location of the show.)
Lopez imagined himself leaving his family reunion, walking down the street, and coming across women who could rule a room simply by the way they carried themselves. This was a continuation of his previous collection. He recalled his mother’s famous quote: “The man may be the head of the house, but the woman is the neck: I control how the head moves.” The first outfit was a grey wool suiting gown with double breasted, gold buttons, and flap pockets that were derived from a power suit jacket from the 1980s. The bold shoulder, which reached out at an angle from the lapel, was a more obvious example of women reclaiming their space here than Lopez’s oversized shoulder silhouette from the previous season, which was used to convey the idea of hiding or withdrawing into oneself. A double-breasted khaki coat with a voluminous sleeve lined in yellow silk and an oversized, expertly rounded shoulder was a contemporary interpretation of a timeless design.
In particular, Lopez was considering the idea of clothing being passed down from one generation to the next. He said, “For us in the hood, getting a fur, maybe some shoes or a bag, was an heirloom. Political correctness be damned, Lopez worked with Saga Furs to create a collection of coats and jackets that ranged from the basic, like a black maxi with the Luar signature leather strap at the chest, to the distinctively Luar, a short double layered jacket that folded upon itself to encase the model in a cocoon-like silhouette, or the multi-colored cropped hooded bomber.
But, an heirloom need not be pricey. I have old tech coats that have been handed down from generation to generation, dating back to the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and who knows when else. “That, in my opinion, is lovely, it’s sustainable, and you can have stuff that people worked hard for and they can share it,” he continued. He gracefully enlarged the variations he displayed this season, adding a padded shoulder here, a puff sleeve there, and a tightened waist. One had the logo “L” embroidered on either collar and was worn with the zipper partially undone. It was paired with jersey pants and a black skirt with wide paillettes. Using a lighthearted approach to dual masculinities, what can be shown by zipping or unzipping a jacket?
A brown half-zip hoodie with the obligatory enormous shoulder, worn with a matching pair of drawstring pants and topped by a big hat, was an upgraded take on one of the many unofficial uniforms of New York City. Lopez also displayed a solid run of knitwear with all-American appeal elsewhere. Similar outfits in denim include a loose-fitting shirt with gathered sleeves and a jacket without a collar. Lopez also played with drapery; a plaid skirt was double-cinched with a Luar logo belt and gathered on the front. It exposed the shirtdress it was worn over at the hem. The most successful version was one of the finale gowns, which was made of the same plaid cloth, draped and gathered at the waist, then ballooned into a head veil or cocoon at the rear. It begs for a moment on the red carpet. He read me some notes he had written on the collection during our appointment. “It’s a form of generational wealth, showing that if I can do this, you can do this too.” He once more took a bow at the end of the performance while holding his young niece’s hand.