Look up at the sky: For designer Peyman Umay, a sightseeing trip to the Empire State Building with his father led to another peak in his career. Climb to the top floor of the Art Deco building to see his four-piece work at the observatory host. This redesign is part of his $165 million overhaul of the Observatory Experience.
To mark the occasion, the Turkish-born designer, who is also an American citizen, attended a kickoff event at the top of the 1,454-foot skyscraper on Tuesday. During the celebration, they flipped a switch on the roof of the Empire State Building to ‘Empire Steel Grey’ and ‘City View Blue’ (royal blue, I think). In total he employed 140 people, including tourists photographing and gifts his shop employees.
Three years ago, when his father visited New York City from his home in Turkey, he toured the iconic building with a friend who worked there. A New York-based menswear designer felt that the uniforms worn by staff did not reflect the building’s “immutable identity”. I made sketches and swatches of a nice replacement. That plan was shelved during the pandemic. But when Empire State took over his building with a new Vice President of Operations, Umay’s design his concept was overhauled.
The designer contacted the building’s president and told him what he had in mind. That is, interpreting the “true soul of the building” in the moment rather than rehashing the past. All functional designs are handcrafted, buttons are lasered and the collar is removable for easy cleaning. “Every detail reflects the inside and outside of the building [as in the uniforms’ red lining is reflective of the interior of the walls]said Umai. The gold cog-and-wheel motif on the jacket and vest is a wink of his 23-karat gold ceiling in his restored Fifth Avenue lobby.
Umay has run a signature business for 11 years and also offers designs for women from his penthouse showroom at the landmark Bryant Park Studios at 80 West 40th Street. He will appear as a judge in an upcoming makeover show on television that he has not had the freedom to discuss.Umay also participates in designing uniforms for international airlines. For now, he’s enjoying his Empire State building feat. “This was a dream trip. . “For the first time in 15 years my uniform changed. I don’t believe in coincidence. I moved to America 15 years ago.”