Demolition Derby at Rochambeau

For FW/14, Joshua Cooper and Laurence Chandler of Rochambeau were inspired by the dangerous world of demolition derby, motocross and underground car racing—and it showed. Arriving smack bang into a studio presentation filled with fast-paced electronic music and exhaust-like smoke felt a bit like a frenzied scene from "The Fast and The Furious." Continuing on the theme, the set was centered around a mangled white car with a backdrop of vandalized gas station signage and motor logos. Suddenly, we were out of Chelsea and onto a drag strip.

Through mimicking interior and exterior lines from high performance vehicles and forms such as door panels, Rochambeau created fast-paced clothes for a fast-paced man—though the pieces remained wearable when picked apart. Elements of drivers’ uniforms, and protective gear like racing goggles and scrap metal details were woven in, taking the audience on a joy ride in dad’s new Lamborghini.

Padding on outerwear, placement of tone-on-tone fabric combinations and loud-mouthed seaming and stitching further proved as a rebellious discourse from youth to adulthood. The casting was refreshing, too, as these could have been kids pulled straight from the streets of Bushwick: They wore the clothes, the clothes did not wear them. Beautiful Bordeaux coats with linear quilting and voluminous jockey/baseball hybrid caps offset the adrenaline-packed collection with a touch of luxury.

There was beautiful tension that existed between the mish-mash tailoring and the street-infused accessories—all white high tops spray painted in neons, for example. The energy was undeniable, placing Rochambeau in a purgatory of designer ready-to-wear and risk-taking urban street wear. Exiting the show, we noticed a trophy perched atop the totaled car.

It appears that the Rochambeau man sees himself in pole position.

Photography by Koury Angelo and Chris Swainston

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