Rochambeau, Our Exclusive Designer Interview
BY ERICA ROSEMAN
Over the past six years, Joshua Cooper and Laurence Chandler have injected adrenaline into the menswear industry with their Rochambeau collection, developing a cult following along the way.
Recently returning from Paris where they were an International Woolmark Prize Finalist for menswear, the R Team took time out to talk about their divisive inspirations, from Tupac Shakur’s acting in Bishop to John Belushi’s booking FEAR for SNL to Odell Beckham influencing their collection colors. Laurence explains, “Our goal is always to tell a story and give our outlook on the coming moment in men’s fashion. Each season it has grown in scale. This one is going to be the biggest yet!”
For F/W 2017, Rochambeau delved deep into the punk scene, a time when subculture was cool and studied scruff was in style. Inspired by music, anti-establishment kids put tremendous thought into their looks – DIY clothes, Mohawks, combat boots, thrift store finds – whatever worked for a night out at CBGB’s. So, how does an established fashion label present an anti-establishment runway moment to an audience of fashion arbitrators? Inspired by what was no doubt a cultural flashpoint, the duo teamed up with none other than visual artist, composer, and co-founder of the iconic band DEVO, Mark Mothersbaugh.
Laurence explains, “Our mood board kept landing on the subculture of the late eighties and early nineties. We wanted to find something that hadn’t been touched and Henry Rollins’ Hot Animal Machine album cover felt super cool.” Joshua adds, “Then, we discovered that the artist behind the album cover was Mark. Randomly, a great friend, Nathan Carter, had a show at MCA in Denver where Mark had a retrospective. Nathan connected us to the curator, Adam Lerner, Adam connected Mark, and the idea began to come to life.” From concept to collaboration, the F/W ’17 collection was a meeting of creative minds, resulting in large-scale colored embroideries, colorful Peruvian knits, hidden details, limited edition designs and subversive messaging.
When Rochambeau hits the runway, expect them to Whip It Good, update a pivotal moment in music history and repeat their own seasonal performance – Laurence will be late, Joshua will be on time, and the runway will rock. God Save the Fashion Elite.