Luar Returns With This Season's It-Bag, and Other News

Our daily look at the world through the lens of design.

Ana handbag by Luar

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Luar Returns With This Season’s It-Bag

When Luar founder Raul Lopez embarked on a two-year hiatus, he took on consulting gigs in the Cayman Islands, spent time with family in the Dominican Republic, and reevaluated his goals as a designer. “I was really just thinking of designing for my friends and trying to prove a point to everyone,” Lopez, who co-founded Hood by Air in 2006, tells WWD. The Brooklyn designer, who incorporates a Downtown edge into his label’s youthful, genderfluid garments, notes Telfar Clemens, Solange Knowles, and Kerby Jean-Raymond among his close friends and confidantes, but hasn’t quite achieved the same level of commercial success. 

That may change with the Ana handbag, a crossbody piece that debuted during New York Fashion Week last month but officially dropped for pre-order this past Friday. Perhaps its most distinctive quality is the circular handle that injects a sense of feminine flair to a trapezoidal structure that nods to corporate briefcases. With a sturdy leather build in five colorways and unmistakable style that channels New York’s fashion culture throughout the ages, Ana is positioned to become this season’s it-bag. “[A bag] solidifies you as a designer,” Lopez says. “Every big house has its signature bag and everyone goes to them for that. It’s a way of taking a piece of you and having it travel the world—sharing my story with the world.”

Polar Bear Skinned by Inuk Artist Honored for the Sobey Art Award

Sitting at the crossroads of numerous debates—indigenous rights, climate change, animal rights activism—Inuk artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory’s Nannupugut! (We killed a polar bear!) is based on a face-to-face encounter with a polar bear inside her cabin that ended in her killing the animal in self defense. For her submission for the Sobey Art Award, the performance artist, spoken word poet, and writer transformed a piece of the bear’s skin into a screen for a video installation that Bathory says “celebrates the bear’s spirit.” 

Filmed by the artist Jamie Griffiths, the two-minute film features Bathory garbed in traditional Greenlandic regalia, doing a dance called uaajeerneq that was almost eradicated by colonial missionaries until her mother revived it. “For a few seconds, the polar bear’s face and mine were 40 centimeters apart. It was an intimate moment,” she says. “I’m the first person in my family to have killed a polar bear. It was a great honor in our family. I know she chose us—the life of the bear was a gift to us.” An exhibition of work by the award finalists is currently on display at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa through Feb. 20, 2022.

Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center

A modernized Holocaust memorial is sparking controversy after advertising on Tinder.

Adopting a tech-heavy approach to marketing, a contemporary Holocaust landmark nestled in Babyn Yar, Ukraine, launched an online campaign to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the site’s eponymous massacre in hopes of reaching a younger audience. The memorial group tapped online dating platform Tinder and other gaming channels to market the occasion. Despite the successful fruit of the digital labor, the approach drew criticism from traditionalists who perceive the effort as a debasement of the sacred topic.

Owen Luder, twice president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, dies at 93.

Dubbed among the unluckiest of British architects, Luder’s penchant for Brutalist-inspired buildings garnered his work equal amounts of criticism and admiration. Although the Luder outlived most of his designs, his signature plans—such as Gateshead’s Trinity Square development and Portsmouth’s multipurpose complex Tricorn Centre—positioned him to lead RIBA for two terms with a portfolio that platformed Brutalist design cues. 

Google fortifies its stance on climate change with a policy that bans climate deniers.

Following a letter penned by the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis for Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the tech mogul has issued a policy that bans the spread of climate change misinformation on its ad and YouTube creator programs. In an effort to bolster its goal of becoming carbon-negative, the rule condemns circulating hoaxes and misguided data that human activity and greenhouse gases aren’t catalyzing the environmental crisis.

NYCxDesign brings back the citywide “An Ode to NYC” poster exhibition in October.

“An Ode to NYC” aims to reconnect people to the New York design sphere by showcasing posters designed by the city’s foremost creative talent—Paula Scher, Suchi Reddy, and Liz Collins among them—at 75 different window-front locations. Each poster is available for sale through Poster House’s website through on-site QR codes in benefit of Silicon Harlem, a nonprofit that works toward digital equity for those lacking internet access during the pandemic. The exhibition will display until October 31.

The Underground Museum names nonprofit leader Meg Onli as director and curator.

Onli joins the Underground Museum from the ICA at the University of Pennsylvania, where she served as the Andrea B. Laporte Associate curator. Working in co-leadership with director and COO Cristina Pacheco, Onli will focus on increasing access to art and exhibitions while reinforcing the museum as a key vitalizing force within the Los Angeles cultural sphere. The announcement follows the museum’s launch of the inaugural Noah Davis Prize, which recognizes trailblazing curators in collaboration with the Chanel Culture Fund.

Today’s attractive distractions:

A homeowner discovered a 1940s shuffleboard court underneath their carpet.

This Hudson Valley town converts a defunct prison into a thriving cannabis hub.

Rick Owens launches Geobasket footwear in children’s sizing for gothic toddlers.

Festive colors and unconventional design elements enliven a post office in China.

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