Five minutes with Benny Castles - Barfoot & Thompson Jockeys' World Cup breeches designer

WORLD designer and director and Project Runway NZ judge, Benny Castles, is a man of true sartorial style. So, naturally, he’s the perfect choice to design the teams' attire for this week's Barfoot & Thompson Jockeys’ World Cup.

Last year, Benny created the colourful silks (aka tops) worn by our jockeys and this year he’s been tasked with designing their breeches.

We took five minutes to chat about his design inspiration, groomed beards and men’s raceday style.

What was the inspiration for this year’s breeches?

Auckland in the Summer! Each design is a playful take on waves. It’s about celebrating Auckland's natural beauty and drawing inspiration from the casual beach culture that dominates summer; it seemed the perfect element to turn on its head and dress up in silk for the races.

You are renowned for your unique and colourful style… how do you suggest men get out of their personal style rut (if they are in one!)?

Our national gentlemen are far more colourful and fashionable than they get credit for, but the best way to assist them in pushing the envelope that much more is to encourage them and give them confidence. If the Kiwi male just acts and dresses according to his own personality, he'll look great and be anything but conservative.


Behind-the-scenes of the design process (scroll to view!)


As a ‘beard man’, can you share your tips and tricks for a well-groomed beard?

Shampoo, condition and hydrate the area as it is both face and hair and both require treatment. Other than that, if it gets in the way of eating, trim it.

What sort of raceday style would you like to see men embrace this season?

‘Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right (or do they)’ is the name of our collection this season and we are encouraging our men to clash pattern on pattern on pattern.

I like to see men re-working classic black, navy and tan with textural patterns in the suiting, paired with bright large pattern-printed shirts; it should be a fun way to get dressed up for the summer.

We love a bow-tie and a pocket square to finish the look.

Side note: Don't forget we've got some great prizes up for our best dressed men at the SkyCity Boxing Day Races as part of Hawaiian Airlines Fashions in the Field

You are well-known for loving the bow tie and, given the raceday nod to tradition, it’s an opportunity to wear things you might not normally. What accessories do you think belong in men’s raceday fashion?

Clearly the bow-tie is a winner in my eyes and hopefully wearing one on race day will encourage the gents to don the bow a little more often.

A well-placed pocket square and a bright pair of socks can also help make any outfit that little more fun.

Your shoes and belt are another way to add life to a classic suit, whether it be a classic leather shoe and suede belt or a bright sneaker and matching bright belt look to use them in unison!


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