by Stephen Garner

For its fall/winter 2021 men’s and women’s collection, Istanbul-based lifestyle brand Les Benjamins takes racing culture as the starting point and marks a return to its roots.

The collection, designed by Les Benjamins’ creative director Bunyamin Aydin, explores Turkish rally culture from the ‘70s and ‘80s and pays a tribute to the country’s rally racing icons Renç Koçibey, Serdar Bostanci, and Ali Sipahi.

Classical racewear codes are subverted to set new standards, and, as such, the dynamism of motorsport-inspired clothing is merged with athleisure to create a new sense of proportion and function.

Defined in two chapters — ‘’rally-style’’ and ‘’crash & repair’’ — the collection’s garments narrate the entire cycle of a rally, from the pilot’s mental preparation to the actual race. In this context, style and performance are the collection’s spiritual and functional pillars and are translated into a rich range of tailored silhouettes, experimental textures, and bold patterns in earthy hues with eye-popping dashes of magenta.

Juxtaposition is key this season, which is why vintage racing uniforms are reinterpreted with a sharp street culture twist. The track clothes mimic the actual rally in its boldness and stark contrasts: while going through this fall/winter 2021 collection, one can perfectly imagine how heavily-modified cars emblazoned with bright sponsor logos engage in off-track racing punctuated by jaw-dropping, wild landscapes, and occasional wrecks.

Raw and utilitarian aesthetics are therefore at the core of this collection, which is why Aydin set his mind on experimenting with natural fabric treatments that come with an artisanal feel. The menswear and womenswear staples from this collection include distressed carpet jacquard, oil spill prints on polar fleece, natural shimmery cupro, printed denim, light woven knitwear, and vegan leather.