It’s Ash Wednesday. Raul is doing the final trimmings for his NYFW delivery of Fall/Winter ’13, Luar Zepol (his name spelled backwards). The stage for “RAYO ESQUISITO” is set in an unfinished basement; exposed brick and white cemented walls surround a lone white bench in the center of the floor — 57 Walker St is about to have it’s first fashion show ever. Natural light fills the room as Raul’s team – made up of mostly friends – steams, wires digital headpieces and paints Luar logos on models. You see, there’s something special about this team: everyone is critical, and talents run the gamut – you name it, there’s an app a girl for that. His team is punks, old club kids, and hood kids, all of whom represent a time in Raul’s life and contribute to his vision. “Everyone shares a piece of my upbringing.”
Former Hood by Air designer, Raul’s latest collection is inspired by the lead aprons and clean lines dressing patients during a trip to the hospital to visit a friend with cancer.
“I would love to have hair like that,” says Raul of the hanging wires behind the machines keeping his friend alive.
The shapes he obsesses over are made using counterposed fleece and cotton and the shoe this season is a compression boot (made by Raul to boot).
The patternmakers, tailors, and shoemakers he selects work his detailed production in Santiago, Dominican Republic – where Raul currently resides.
The brand has dichotomous roots; it tells the story of travel between sexy New York and a fiercely conservative Dominican Republic, it’s also being a gay latino who grew up in a machista household, and it’s part urban and part campo. Per Raul, “it’s all crazy aspects of my crazy life.”