The downtown lad headed uptown on Tuesday night. That lad would be one Curtis Kulig, artist and frequent brand collaborator, who ventured north for very good reason: to celebrate Curtis Kulig x Topman. Kulig partnered with Topman in what was the fast-fashion retailers’ first-ever collaboration with an American for a 23-piece range and now the buzzy artist was gathering his equally buzzy friends to the Carlyle hotel to celebrate.
A set of usual downtown fixtures — Michael Avedon, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Mia Moretti, Emma Kathleen Ferrer, Morgan Collett and the musician Ferras — trekked to 76th street, for cocktails at the storied Bemelmans Bar and dinner just a feet away at the hotel’s restaurant.
Kulig is most well-known for his “Love Me” campaign, which has led to projects with brands including Nike and Vans, and an appearance in DKNY’s fall 2013 campaign with Cara Delevingne. His collection for Topman, out Dec. 8th, though, marks the first time he’s actually designed a capsule, which he describes as, “so much based on my personal style…very old-man leisure. And comfortable as well. Classic, I guess. I’ve been toning it down.”
The lines ranges from scarves, gloves, overcoats, trousers and hooded sweatshirts to corduroy suits, cardigans and a weekend bag. It’s “all of your classic basics that I think every man needs in their wardrobe,” Kulig said. The overcoat, an item he predicts will be the bestseller of the collection, is lined with a print of a painting from his new series, called Chance paintings.
The pieces are cut in loose, flowy shapes, a departure for the usual slim fit of Topman. “It has a bit of bigger fitting, old leisure, uptown man on a Sunday stroll, paper-and-coffee sort of vibe,” Kulig said, who was dressed in the earlier mentioned overcoat and a shirt patterned with a typewriter asterisk and period.
The project has been in the works since the beginning of the year, though Kulig first met the Topman team a year ago, right as they were opening their U.S. flagship on 5th avenue. The look book, shot by Michael Avedon, shows Kulig at various places uptown, including Central Park and Viand Cafe.
“I live downtown, and I think I have this fantasy of being uptown. I don’t know if I actually could do uptown — I say I would, but I don’t know if I actually could,” Kulig said. The collection is, then, his fan-boy love letter to the Upper East Side-dwelling gent. “I’ve lived downtown for 10 years and I like the idea of the fantasy of being an uptown guy: proper, buttoned up, classic. It’s conveying what I think is the uptown style.”