Futurism is a term as ephemeral as it is overused, but it does manage to imply a certain discontent with mere relevance, be it intentional or by design–it frankly doesn’t matter which to me. In an age where corporate and celebrity culture are the last-standing reliable goldmines, most fashion is making money via a series of reverse-engineered status symbols tailored to appear as recognizable as they are marketable, the jail tats of our capitalist prison.
Luar Zepol SS14, despite excellent name recognition among fashion’s meta-darlings, eschewed popular gimmickry, opting instead for intricate construction, innovative detail, and an unpredictably cozy vibe, making it my favorite #NYFW happening thusfar. Entering through the ground floor of the Temp Gallery in Soho, show guests, many of whom both knew and liked each other, chatted, separated from the model prep area by only a wall of hung canvas. After being seated in the basement, I sat across the aisle from a very chill 10ish-year-old girl who was remarkably unphased by the looped refrains of “don’t want no daaate / I just want my p**sy ate” echoing from Brenmar’s choice opening set. It just felt like actual humans were present, and like the clothes we were about to see might even be inspired by them, a welcome respite from sterile lacquered runways, pushy lines, and bristly PR people.
An original track from Gatekeeper signaled the start of the show, at which point the lights went up from dim to afterlife-bright. The clothes saw beyond the ubiquitous Mad Max post-apocalypse into exoskeletal, tactical athletic gear with an amphibious bent, a functional yet non-nihilistic view of what’s to come, a future where patchwork denim does occasionally still rear its head.
Jutting headpieces, transparent Mountain Dew-colored prosthetic bangs, and L.E.D.-studded Shredder masks suddenly felt practical in Luar’s world, even necessary for shielding oneself from the open-bar-Svedka tinged breath of the person asking “so, how’s your fashion week?” (aka any of us). The raver, the samurai, the androgyne, the soldier–they all came down the runway at one point or another, but in flickering moments devoid of irony or referential self-sacrifice. Even the “matrix” print, to which a similar specimen was seen at Ammerman Schlosberg last week, was used with restraint, and damned if every man I know won’t be clamoring for a matrix-print calf-length tunic. Not being remotely facetious.
The show had everything, from concept to wearability, and managed to combine a Mugatu-esque intensity with very little actual pretense. Call me old fashioned, but this sounds like everything the runway should be. Subtle idiosyncrasies made the process real and the clothes feel special, like we were standing near the hands that created them and not in some cold corporate box full of future outlet wares. Luar, aka designer Raul Lopez, is now at least three seasons deep into consistently prescient genius; thankfully the sharp folks at Opening Ceremony are stocking him now, because he’s the lowkey influencer whose show Bieber or Yeezy should have been at if they wanted to see vs. being seen.