Though his tenure is brief, New York designer Raul Lopez has already cultivated a cult following among the lgbtq community with his outlandish designs and bold political presence. This season, Lopez merges the best of both worlds by taking modern streetwear merged with Medieval and Renaissance inspired dress for an edgy take on the classics. “Thot-aissance”, he calls the skin-baring collection.
Refreshingly dreamy silhouettes in fluid shapes exude a sense of romanticism and sophistication; a far cry from Lopez’s first NYFW show for Spring 2018. Within such a short amount of time in the spotlight as a designer, Lopez has not only established his own niche, but grown in his own design tastes as well.
“I wanted to show my progression and how I’m growing in the brand and not just staying in the same thing, but keeping my element,” he says. Sculptural folds, and thoughtfully placed pleats lend intrigue to the otherwise fantastical clothes, and all-white ensembles that are a must for spring. Everyone’s go-to basics like crisp white shirts, jackets, and slim trousers are reinvented for “that hoe over there”, this time with an unassuming sex appeal.Tapping into the rise in conversation on gender fluidity, male models are styled in transparent tops paired with pleated mini skirts and knee-length dresses. “The woman is going to go to the man’s closet and take his dress and wear it to work, that’s when it’s fluid”, he says.
Taking cues from Dante’s “The Divine Comedy” and exploring the concept of purgatory, fluid drapes, gathers, and lines create ethereal shapes, speaking to the designer’s inspiration. “I feel like we’re all fighting this battle right now in society and all trying to make it to the top and to heaven,” he explains. Playing off of his dramatic Renaissance theme, Lopez concludes the collection by integrating color into a single look in the likeness of a classical painting draped over a pure white dress.The hand painted piece was done by a Mexican artesian famous for his cathedrals, which Raul further designed by adding gold and silver embroidery. Other looks demand drama in other forms: jackets are finished with zippers at the shoulders or down the back, pleated leggings flare at the ankle, and tops pieced together with metal hooks and grommets.
The designer’s dramatic growth spurt beginning with his Spring 2018 collection proves Luar’s aesthetic has a place in the emerging fashion world. We can’t wait to see what he does next.