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On a sunny St Tropez day in 1971, while sitting at a café terrace, Fred Prysquel drew a pair of swim trunks on the corner of his tablecloth. He’d later bring that sketch to life. Mixing style with ingenuity, he introduced Spinnaker cloth, a quick-drying material used in kites and boat sails. Prysquel, a motorcar enthusiast, named his line Vilebrequin, after the French word for crankshaft. The prominent French manufacturer and retailer now carries men’s, women’s and kids’ swim and resort wear.
For men, the MOOREA trunk, with a classic fit, continues to be a summer favorite, but trunks are also available in long, short and fitted shapes. The current men’s swimwear collection features a range of whimsical prints including octopus, turtles, and starfish. There are also graphic prints that celebrate the Parisian spirit, and a tropical pineapple print perfect for fun in the sun. A limited edition pair is adorned with the brand’s now iconic emblem–the turtle–in a matte 18K gold thread.For the more conventional swimmer, solids and stripes round off the collection. The inner workings of Vilebrequin swimwear are just as important as their stylish exterior with double seams that ensure a prolonged life.
The highlight print of the women’s collection, Turtle Paradise, is available as separates and as a one-piece. With flowers, turtles, and starfish it is reminiscent of a tranquil vacation in the tropics. Vilebrequin’s resort wear includes the brand’s incredibly soft cotton pocket tees, brightly hued polos, cargo shorts, and beach bags and hats embroidered with the Vilebrequin turtle.The brand also designs elegant pieces and accessories. A penchant for family values led to the 1995 release of Father and Son collections: men’s swimming trunks and their matching mini-me counterparts, which have since become a company symbol. In 2011, in celebration of their 40th anniversary, the firm set its sights on a worthy cause: environmental protection. Vilebrequin collaborated with Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Yves-Cousteau, of Plant a Fish Foundation to help reintroduce certain species of sea turtles to their natural habitat.
This May, Vilebrequin enthusiasts can take their love of the company from the beach and into the office, as the label looks to infuse their playful prints into another fashion arena. A collection of neckties, bowties and pocket squares, will be made in Italy, using Italian silk twill. Vilebrequin has partnered with PVH Corp. to bring these new pieces to consumers. “One of the strongest trends in the men’s fashion and accessories category is prints,” said David Sirkin, President of Dress Shirts for PVH. “We are excited to team up with a brand like Vilebrequin that is synonymous with iconic prints and high-quality products. We believe consumers will embrace the adaptation of Vilebrequin’s prints from swimwear to neckwear.”
The firm’s diverse celebrity following, including David Beckham, Jude Law, Giselle Bundchen, Jay-Z and Prince William, is indicative of Vilebrequins vast appeal. With over 150 stores in 52 countries, the luxury brand has become a summer essential for costumers looking for quality garments that will take them from one sunny adventure to the next, year after year. ■