Trying to speak with Raul Lopez after his phenomenal and electric Luar spring 2022 show was like trying to speak with the President or Cher–it required agility, flexibility, and a willingness to wait. Lopez was not unwilling to discuss his victory at New York Fashion Week. It wasn’t that he didn’t care. He just couldn’t get any words out between the well wishes from Kerby Jean Raymond and Lourdes Leon. In the 8 minutes that we talked, Lopez was hugged by more than a dozen people. What am I to do but stand in the way of a loved designer?
Even sitting with the Luar enthusiasts was an enjoyable experience. The Bushwick location was packed to the point that my colleague and I shared one folding chair, and then our friend ran in just before the show began and sat down on our laps. We weren’t alone in our huddled-up state. Ian Isiah also brought his dog. Because of their proximity, everyone could feel every whoop and applause. This gave the already powerful return an additional charge.
Lopez was clearly in a meditative state despite the raucous nature of the catwalk. Lopez was unable to make ends meet in fashion before the pandemic and he fled to Grand Cayman for some much-needed relaxation. His mental health was being affected by the pressures in the fashion industry. I must commend Lopez for his ability to recognize when it is time to let go and be open to discussing the subject publicly.
In the two years that Lopez was away from the fashion grid, Lopez re-evaluated his thoughts about his label. Luar was his pearl. He was the center of all his creativity. The spring 2022 collection was an expression of all he loved: shorts, suiting, fluidity, his Dominican heritage, and sweatshorts. In a kind of provocative way the jersey shorts and shirts as well as the ties were particularly striking. The pieces are held together by a small beige leather band at the chest. The pearl of Luar, however tender, is all about being beautiful and hot. Tonight’s mission accomplished.