Style / July 2017

How Vilebrequin Reinvented Swimwear

It was a simple romantic quest that gave birth to the brand we can thank for swimwear that’s as far detached as can be from the Australianism, “budgie smugglers”.

Vilebrequin’s green camouflage swim shorts, designed exclusively for The Rake.

If Vilebrequin were a song, according to its CEO and designer Roland Herlory, it would be Serge Gainsbourg’s Sous le Soleil Exactement: for Herlory, the hard-living poète du pop’s solar-powered hit perfectly encapsulates the French swimwear brand’s elegant, smooth “irreverencia”. If it were, on the other hand, a place – and in a sense, it is – that place would be Saint Tropez, the epicentre of 70s bon vivier where it was founded, early on in that decade.

Saint Tropez in the 70s was the centre of a new world,” says Herlory, who acquired his first pair of Vilebrequin shorts as an 18th birthday present in 1981. “It was a place where a new society was being invented which was all about fun, freedom, romance. As a company, we still always look at that time and place in history for inspiration.”

Tags