Drawing inspiration from the Western design codes of horse racing, as well as the mastery and dressage of its Eastern lineage — LES BENJAMINS’ Spring-Summer 2023 collection lifts and recontextualises these ceremonial aesthetics with fluid streetwear cuts.
Entitled ‘The Horse of the East’, the notion of the collection came to the brand’s creative director Bunyamin Aydin “When I was living in Dubai, I was in Business Bay, and my house was really close to Meydan, where all the big horse races take place. Lamia [my partner] would always tell me about her childhood, and how she was inspired by dressing up for the horse races she would attend, and create custom pieces for. It’s just like a fashion show, everyone dresses up.”
Split into two sub-stories, the collection traces parallel themes associated with horse racing, with the first aspect diving into the technicality of racing wear, with bomber jackets and knee-length shorts tracing the silhouette of clothing usually worn by jockeys in menswear, and a bralette accompanied by a matching maxi-skirt in women’s. The brand’s signature Turkish carpet print maintains a presence across men’s and women’s, echoed in relaxed-fit performance shapes as well as tailoring.
Meanwhile, the second story expands on the intention behind the ceremonial dress in horse racing. Juxtaposing the formality of the latter, the ceremonial aspect ties in with the East’s rich and illustrious history of horse racing.
Ceremonial flowers, which have long been tied into the tradition and revelry, serve as a prism into the mindset of the post-race ceremony. Throughout tailoring, hand-crochet adds a layer of warmth, meanwhile hand-stitching and embellishments give a sense of ritual — an element that also draws from the rich history of the Bedouins, and their relationship toward horses. Accessories including metal plates, horseshoes and tassels are dutifully stitched onto tailored pieces, juxtaposing the Western formality of horse racing with the Bedouin lifestyle.
“That’s why I called the collection ‘The Horse of the East’” says Aydin, “It’s a mysterious approach on who and what the horse is, and what it is about. The horse race and the ceremony”.