Inside Luar’s rave-ready Spring/Summer 2024 presentation, redefining the sublime from a Brooklyn warehouse

“Raul Lopez kept one hand on the steering wheel as his Volvo truck rolled to a halt outside of his best friend’s house,” begin Luar’s show notes for the brand’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection, Socorro. To his left, a sermon was taking place, passages from the Last Testament vying to be heard over the thundering bass of tricked-out car speakers. Looking to his right, he saw people drinking, doing drugs, hips winding sensually to the music as they indulged their most hedonistic impulses. “Yet their eyes wander, searching,” Lopez observes. “For what? A savior. Both sides are looking for the same things but in different places.”

This experience inspired the designer’s latest presentation: a show-stopping, rave-ready runway show set to the song “Socorro,” which means “help” in Spanish, and is also Lopez’s mother’s name. Held in a Bushwick warehouse—itself a site of sweaty, euphoric communion—the show drew a crowd that was buzzing with expectation, gathered together to celebrate an emerging designer who has rapidly established himself as one of fashion’s most fascinating storytellers. With his decidedly personal narrative approach and garments that fuse luxury style codes with an everyman sensibility, Luar has a reputation for crafting with a distinct point of view—one that reflects his own multifaceted identity, and provides the wearer with new opportunities to express their own.

This latest offering is no exception: Bringing together Luar’s signature boxy suiting and dramatic silhouettes with sexy cutouts, ultra-feminine crystal bracelets, and sheer flouncy skirts, the collection mines the tensions between modesty and extravagance, femininity and masculinity, over-the-top bravado and the art of the tease. Such binaries have taken on new significance for Lopez as he ascends in the fashion industry, while simultaneously honoring his deep ties to the Dominican and queer communities: “He feels the push and pull daily,” read the show notes, “and instead of opting to be on one side or another, he strives to coexist in both spaces.”

“He feels the push and pull daily, and instead of opting to be on one side or another, he strives to coexist in both spaces.”

In this sense, the collection is a testament to balance: defined not by adherence to convention, but by the fluid navigation of extremes. Voluminous garments cloak the body with evocative, balloon-like silhouettes, interrupted by revealing slits at the upper thigh; masculine and feminine signifiers intertwine—a polo shirt’s burly padded shoulders transform into slinky, barely-there ribbons of fabric as the garment descends down the model’s body. Elements of brand DNA become even more pronounced in this season’s offerings, with variations on the cult-favorite Ana bag, exaggerated collars, and statement sunglasses that remain tethered to garments or else extend over models’ cheekbones like masks.

Elsewhere, crackling leather evokes the walls of El Hoyo, the city in the Dominican Republic where Lopez witnessed the competing atmospheres of a church sermon and a streetside rave. This influence was felt, too, in the show’s general setting, with hovering smoke and flashing lights serving to both illuminate and obscure—lending a sense of urgency as viewers craned to get the full view.

As the models strutted around the cavernous industrial space, the air was filled with electric energy—anticipation that transformed into appreciation and soon, a standing ovation. The show’s attendees came to be surprised, moved, seen—to witness something greater than themselves, revealed briefly between darkness and flashing lights. And as they filtered up to the roof for dancing, it was clear Luar’s presentation had delivered on its promise: offering viewers a little glimpse of heaven, illusive as its definition may be.