Peyman Umay began his career as a model but fell in love with the design while pursuing a career in Civil Engineering. Now, he’s challenging structure and convention in the fashion industry. And he is genuinely putting himself out there with his designs. This week’s runway for Umay’s eponymous brand was a stunning example of the Turkish designer’s craftsmanship when it comes to making clothes. Famous for his bespoke tailoring, Peyman is typically associated with classic attire, European waistcoats and English-inspired plaids. They are his expertise in the studio and have been his style of choice. However, there were only remnants of that traditional aesthetic on display at this year’s NYFW. I say remnants because, well, the deconstructed suits and unique textures at work in his Spring 2018 collection were more often than not only partial pieces of a suit, peeling back the facade to reveal skin and construction underneath. Given the patchwork feel and tricolor palette — Peyman Umay was almost exclusively focused on white, red, and black in his collection — I couldn’t help but think back John Galliano’s deconstruction of tulle gowns for Maison Margiela in February. That memory was probably also triggered by Peyman Umay’s headgear, ornate black pieces seemingly lifted right from a classic foil and rippling masquerade masks covered in sparkly sequins. These, especially the fencing masks, gave the runway a strange athletic energy, transporting us to a manufactured world where jousters paraded in tailored suits on a white strip of floor before doing battle. Hiding the face also proved oddly futuristic, blurring the distinction between high fashion and niche subculture. Perhaps too, it could have been a nod to those famous skulls from Alexander McQueen. Empty eye sockets and a skull-like smile certainly made them more memorable.
And thus was the Spring 2018 runway for Peyman Umay. An exploration in bespoke tailoring that was anything but predictable. While he certainly showed off his craft in a refreshing, unconventional way, there were still some less conceptual pieces for dinner parties and the office. Some may say this was too much of too many ideas, but I say, why not show everything you’ve got? What is fashion week for?
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