In what has become a common theme for the Rochambeau brand, designers Laurence Chandler and Joshua Cooper continued their collaboration with contemporary artists — this time sculptor and painter Aaron Curry — for their spring collection.
The designers discovered Curry during his Lincoln Center installation, reached out to him and were humbled when he agreed to work with them. “He said most of his fans were 70 years old,” Chandler said.
But this collection was not for the geriatric crowd. The fruitful partnership resulted in a visual explosion of patterns and colors that ran the gamut from small details to full-blown prints.
The silhouettes were familiar — from bombers and trucker jackets to cargo pants — but they became secondary to the artist’s interpretations.
Although an intense allover psychedelic print on a bomber and shorts and a cropped jacket and long trousers were definitely eye-openers, the result was more effective when the patterns were used as details or accents.
The show was nearly all men’s. “As a smaller, growing brand, we can do what we want,” Chandler said of the decision to show in September rather than July. The women’s looks played to a more sophisticated side of the artistic references, noticeably in a sweeping printed parka worn over a matching set. The styling trend provides a fast track to effortlessly chic head-to-toe dressing and, in the designers’ hands, an element of streetwise know-how, as well. An electric blue leather jacket-and-pant combo stood out for its gender-ambiguous appeal. Tying into the collection’s overall casual tone were silky pajama sets, tracksuits and the painterly streaks derived from Curry’s works.
The collection also marked Rochambeau’s first move into headwear through a collaboration with partner ’47, which will be ongoing.
The showstopper, however, was the brand’s reinterpretation of Nike Air Force 1 sneakers, which Chandler said the activewear giant offered them free rein to design. These creative one-of-a-kind kicks are bound to become collectors’ items.
This show proved Rochambeau is able to continually engage its consumer into a more intellectual conversation, even as the clothes remain young and fun.