Inside Luar’s Steamy Pop-Up Shop Turned-Stoop Party

It was no mere coincidence that Raul Lopez, founder of Luar, opened a pop-up shop in Lower Manhattan and sold this year’s hottest bag on one of New York’s hottest days. The designer —who found inspiration in the infamous Prada Marfa installation—wanted sweat to be a part of the experience. “So that it would feel like a desert,” Lopez said on Tuesday evening, standing outside the tiny space.

The careful calculation resulted in a shopping experience that felt like a hazy summer block party: cans of hard seltzers sat in a pool of melted ice; shoppers spilled out of the store (which had no AC) and into the streets; the air smelled of cannabis and B.O. Inside, a hunky DJ, outfitted in a white tank, blasted out classic house music tunes like “Gypsy Woman” and “Show Me Love.” A visual buffet of cool-kid outfits was on display: tiny sunglasses, baby tees, low-slung skirts. And the most popular accessory, of course, was Luar’s trending Ana bag, strapped across lithe frames like a crossbody pouch.

Lopez says he feels a special kinship to the Prada Marfa installation—its randomness, its geographical isolation, its absurdity. It’s how Lopez feels sometimes. “I fit into circles, but also don’t,” he said, basking in the breeze from two personal fans designed as over-the-ear headphones. (“Amazon. Overnight delivery.”) Like Prada Marfa, Lopez has always felt like he exists on the outskirts. “I never fit into the queer scene, the straight scene, the fashion scene; I kind of always have this ‘je ne sais quoi.’” Over the years, however, Lopez has learned to find subversive joy in being misunderstood. “When I walk around the city, people literally stop and laugh and take pictures,” he says, reflective. Then his tenor switches in a flash: “But I kind of live for it. It juices me up.”

An outsider perspective is exactly what propels Luar (which is Raul spelled backward). The brand buckles against the traditional, with its fluid tailoring and aesthetic celebration of Lopez’s Dominican heritage and New York upbringing. “Teflar and I were just talking about this,” Lopez said, pointing over to his designer friend, who was enjoying the action and wearing uber short-shorts. “Back in the days, Vice Magazine would come and document these parties, and there would be like a do and don’t section. Me and Telfar were always on the don’t list.’ Lopez’s eyes narrowed. “The “don’ts” are always the things that are the looks for me.”

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