The house of Rochas is very old and established in Paris but only recently started making collections for men and we are grateful they did. Because finally here is collection ready to wear also for manly men. No runway necessary when you are a car mechanic. And there is no fashion show applicable for car pilots or drivers if indeed you are a gentleman. For this house signature goes back to the time when Marcel Rochas back in the fifties would name some of his creations after famous car brands, and when car racing was still a leisurely sport. Because he liked speed. And who does not like speed – even today? Indeed a special privilege still only reserved for the few.
So Béatrice Ferrant, creative director, picked up on this old car racing vibe de la Maison and started mixing both formal and technical fabrics in the most interesting way and with the most precious retro colors we have seen in presentations for a while (Carven comes close). For it is that amber red canvas look which immediately makes you think of ancient car racing days, especially when contrasted with a pastel green opal or aquamarine. It is so recognizable that even when you would have never thought of racing as a sport, you could imagine it in your dreams by the colors alone. Unfinished workmen’s raffles and threads included. This collection is very finished.
So while admiring these finished sartorial creations bringing back alive the time when man was still allowed to be a gentleman and studying the race stripes and checkboard patterns on the floor entering the showroom, who else would come to mind involuntarily but the greatest style icon of the recent past, the late great Steve McQueen, who, besides actually being a trained and accomplished as a race car driver, also famously starred in – Le Mans – an American film from 1971 about France’s greatest race and racetrack for cars. So here in the Rochas SS18 collection we trace the legend, the man, the history of France, and the style of Le Mans all in one. Look closely at the resemblance in the pictures below – for this may very well be the second coming of Steve McQueen. A manly man in sotto voce for all times.
As finished and grand as the concept is thus executed by Béatrice Ferrant and her team, we would still like to add that the Rochas Homme SS18 collection is incredible in the details, not only in the showroom, but specifically in the menswear itself: Signatures of embroidery as race tags; removable driver and mechanic armbands; racing insignia and badges; pit stop accessories; outsized car racing numbers; rough texturing fabrics; high tech material and canvas (the press release speaks of techno-couture); ultra-refined foliage and map T-shirts (against the heat) with the map of Le Mans as a print; cotton fishnet fabrics for transparency and air when you are out in the garage; biker jackets and driving suits for when you need to change gear or wear. It’s the complete package.
All of which together brings back a very special time when men of the past were not just professionals racing for money, but actually gentlemen racing for a sport. For only a gentleman dresses up – and not down – when he is in the pit stop changing a wheel, or while racing trying to beat the brutal competition in a car he has put together and took apart first himself. For this is called sports and not business.
Rochas Homme SS18, classic French racecar chic gloriously executed for gentlemen who like speed.
Words by Sandro and photos from Rochas.