les benjamins bring its space soldiers to istanbul’s ancient cisterns
The Turkish luxury sportswear label put on a spectacular show in one of the city’s most beautiful settings.
Futuristic galaxies and ancient Ottoman culture collided in Les Benjamins' fall/winter 15 Space Soldiers show at the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul on the weekend. British models Dudley O'Shaughnessy and Phoebe Collings-James opened and closed a men's and women's show that included technical sports fabrications, liberal use of leather and the brand's signature prints on oversized t-shirts and hoodies. The palette began mostly with black, grey and white, but then moved into color with rich burgundy, petrol blue and rust. The brand also emblazoned the number 34 over gift tees and totes, in honor of the zip code for the area where they're based - İstanbul's bohemian Galata district.
Bunyamin Aydin, who founded the brand in 2011, defined it as "hip hop goth with an Ottoman touch for both men and women." Its style of t-shirts and high-end leisurewear has ever-increasing international reach, as reflected by a Fashion Week Istanbul show that saw editors flying in from New York, Paris and London to attend. After the catwalk, the 900 guests partied to the sounds of NYC DJ Venus X, local rapper Kamufle and grime don Wiley. The brand are clearly big fans of rap and grime (Skepta performed at their last party in Paris) and this is reflected in silhouettes that spring from contemporary US and UK hip hop.
As well as another successful Fashion Week Istanbul (Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci was in town over the show weekend), the city itself is buzzing with the recent openings of Soho House, Milk Studios and The Mondrian. There's something in the air in Istanbul, and the young, creative Les Benjamins crew are certainly at the heart of it.