Luar Brings Beyoncé to Bushwick

Only two days after Taylor Swift bestowed some of her fairy dust on a niche New York Fashion Week label by wearing Area jeans to the Super Bowl, an even more unlikely moment of celebrity-show synergy occurred: Beyoncé showed up in a warehouse in deep Brooklyn for the Luar show.

Yup, Beyoncé’s first public appearance after announcing Renaissance “Act II,” and her first appearance at a New York Fashion Week show in years, was in Bushwick.

Even in a world that has become somewhat jaded about celebrity frows (a few hours before the Luar show, Blake Lively, Brie Larson, Gabrielle Union-Wade and Rachel Zegler had shown up at Michael Kors), a Beyoncé appearance at an edgy, independent brand — the kind of brand that doesn’t have the money for pay-to-play arrangements, meaning she must actually like it — was a surprise.

It’s the fashion equivalent of winning the attention lottery.

The guest of honor made her entrance covered in a blinding number of rhinestones, with mirrored shades and a cowboy hat, toting a Luar bag that she carefully held front and center so it would be in every photograph. Was this a clue to her coming album couturier?

Not necessarily. It turned out she and her mother, Tina Knowles, were there to support her sister, Solange, and Solange’s son, Julez Smith Jr., who was making his catwalk debut in the show.

That Beyoncé’s appearance would also act like a magnet to bring eyeballs to a label that has been bubbling up through the edges of New York Fashion Week for a few seasons now was a bonus. (Raul Lopez, the Luar designer, was named the 2022 Council of Fashion Designers of America accessory designer of the year and was a finalist for the 2023 LVMH Prize for young designers.)

In any case, Mr. Lopez, who is one of the designers subverting the old mold of New York fashion and reshaping it to cross boundaries and identities, was ready for his close-up. The site may have been gritty, but his work is increasingly polished.

Like many designers, he was exploring the current mood of 1990s nostalgia. But unlike many designers, rather than looking at it through a minimalist lens, he mined another aspect of its cultural phenomena: that of the metrosexual.

Which is to say, the heterosexual man who flirts with female stereotypes — like skin and hair care. (See, for example, David Beckham, who is having his own moment in the sun thanks to a recent Netflix documentary.) The man who laid the groundwork for current celebrities like Jacob Elordi with his series of Chanel and Bottega Veneta handbags, or Harry Styles with his pearls.

Not that Mr. Lopez is that literal about it. Rather, he’s bulking up shoulders and necklines to linebacker proportions to suggest that power is what you make of it; cutting windows into the thighs of skirt-pants (the thigh is his chosen erogenous zone); and otherwise de- and reconstructing old gender clichés. Long leather skirts — he’s a dab-hand at sharp leather — were peeled down at the waist like a banana to create a pseudo-peplum; leggings were feathered with faux black swan plumage; and some guys carried little gold cheetahs as purses.

Oh, and he added some tattoo T-shirts — “Luar Basics” — and knitwear that will form a more accessibly priced (and ideated) line.

By the end of the show, the audience was hooting and hollering. And not just for Mrs. Carter.



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