The world of equestrianism and horse racing has always maintained a close link with the fashion industry, whether it be for the inspiration it provided and continues to provide for many designers, or for the atmosphere that surrounds it. Istanbul-based brand LES BENJAMINS, founded in 2011, has been one of the latest to take this exciting world and make it the focus of its Spring/Summer 2023 collection and campaign.

Entitled “The Horse of the Orient”, the idea for the line came from Bunyamin Aydin (creative director) as follows: “When I lived in Dubai, I was in Business Bay and my house was very close to Meydan, where all the big horse races are held. Lamia [my partner] would always tell me about her childhood and how she was inspired to dress for the horse races she would attend. It’s like a fashion show, everyone dresses up.

Divided into two sub-stories, the proposal addresses parallel themes related to horse racing. The first one focuses on the technicality of racing clothes, where bomber jackets, trousers with the characteristic silhouette that jockeys usually wear, and maxi skirts are introduced. The brand’s trademark Turkish carpet print is present in both menswear and womenswear, in both shapes and tailoring.

In the case of the second story, it delves into the ceremonial dress seen at such events. Juxtaposing the formality of the latter, the ceremonial aspect is linked to the rich and illustrious oriental history of horse racing. Ceremonial flowers, which have long been linked to tradition and revelry, serve as a prism to the mentality of the post-race ceremony. Remember that in the olden days, those attending racecourses would dress up and show off their best suits or pieces of tailoring. Those proposed by L.B. are hand-embroidered (to add a sense of warmth) and have hand-stitching and embellishments, an element also inspired by the rich history of the Bedouins and their relationship with horses. To punctuate the looks are accessories such as metal plates, horseshoes, and custom stitched tassels, juxtaposing the western formality of horse racing with the Bedouin lifestyle.

Check out the campaign images below and appreciate how LES BENJAMINS elevates and recontextualizes the ceremonial aesthetic with fluid streetwear cuts: