Vilebrequin celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The luxury swimwear brand for men and women celebrates with the launch of its 50th anniversary collection, an assortment of limited edition men’s swimwearseries of 50 prints, each representing a different year, from 1971, the year of the foundation of the Vilebrequin.
“It’s a tribute to the history of the brand,” Roland Herlory, CEO of Vilebrequin, told WWD. “The idea is to find what symbolizes best each year. So every swimsuit has a meaning. My dream is that people buy the year – not the print, not the color combinations – but the year. You know, you’re going to buy the year you were born. Or, the year you get your first job. Or, the year you met your husband or wife, your honeymoon, your wedding. I do not know. But I love the idea of getting attached to one product per year and all the memories for that year. It’s another way to buy. You buy part of your memory. ”
The pine treest print, “1971,” launched in March with nostalgic red, white and blue striped men’s swim trucks for the era. The 1980s prints will start rolling out on April 16, followed by the 1990s and 2000s in May, with more recent years launching in the summer or fall.
Some prints from the 50th anniversary collection can be found in other product categories, such as women’s and children’s swimwear, ready-to-wear and accessories. But Herlory said Vilebrequin will still focus on the men’s division.
“The origin of the brand is masculine; these are men, ”said the CEO. “If you want to grow, you have to grow with respect for your roots and where you come from. Otherwise, you will lose your soul and you will lose your core values. For me, it has always been very clear that Vilebrequin’s main business has been men’s swimwear.
“This does not prevent us from sowing the seeds of diversification, as long as we take the time to do it right, and as long as it is consistent and consistent with our Absolute DNA of men’s swimwear, ”Herlory said. “Then you can expand into the art of beach living. And we are developing ready-to-wear. But to integrate these new values, it takes time and we go at our own pace.
This speed spanned half a century. Vilebrequin was founded in 1971 in Saint-Tropez, France by Fred Prysquel. “But it started, not as a business, but because of a love affair,” Herlory said.
Prysquel, photographer and journalist, was in Saint-Tropez in the early 1970s. Spending most of his days at the beach – and not feel comfortable in the Speedo men’s swimwear of the time – Prysquel decided to create his own in an attempt to woo the object of his affection (and future wife) Yvette.
“He succeeded, because they got married; they have spent their whole life together ” Said Herlory. “It was the first modern day swim shorts to seduce a woman.”
What he created was his own version of the swim shorts he saw in California and parts of Africa. It wasn’t long before others started to Prysquel where he bought his swimsuit and if he could make one for them. Yvette, a fashion designer, had her own boutique and started selling Prysquel’s creations apart from that. Five decades later, Vilebrequin’s love story continues.
In 2012, G-lll Apparel Group purchased Vilebrequin. The following year, women’s swimwear was added to the mix. Today, the 50-year-old swimwear brand sells to 60 countries around the world. The United States is the largest market, followed by France and Italy. It also has 190 stores, a mix of company-owned and franchise locations, many in major beach destinations, such as St. Tropez, Honolulu, Hawaii, Capri, Italy and Cancun, Mexico.
The Men’s 50th Anniversary Collection can be purchased at select Vilebrequin stores and at vilebrequin.com, as well as at third-party retailers including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman, hotel boutiques and Galeries Lafayette in Europe. Prices range from $ 135 to $ 780 and are available in men’s sizes XS to XXXL.
The collection also incorporates sustainable fabrics, 62% to be exact. But Herlory pointed out that most of Vilebrequin’s assortment is made up of at least 60% sustainable fabrics, such as recycled plastic bottles. He hopes that number will be closer to 90 or 100% over the next four to five years. This includes not only the use of eco-friendly fabrics, but also the implementation of sustainable production processes on a global scale.
“We’re on the verge of reaching that level,” Herlory said. “But I want to go faster than that and be fully eco-responsible. Because I believe that as a CEO it is my responsibility to try to participate in a better world for future generations. It is to pay homage to the product and to pay homage to future generations.
Meanwhile, despite the challenges of last year – and the lack of travel – Herlory said he was optimistic about the future.
“We had very mixed results [throughout the pandemic], “he explained.” All the very touristy destinations have suffered a lot. But the local destinations have had incredible results because people could not travel. So they stayed at home and the shops with local customers, they did doubled their sales.
The brand’s e-commerce sales also increased. In the most recent quarter, revenues from Vilebrequin’s global digital business grew nearly 30% year-over-year, said Morris Goldfarb, President and CEO of G-III at the analysts on last month’s conference call.
“What I know from experience is that when you come out of a crisis, the best brands, or those that are the most popular in a territory, are the ones that are the most strengthened, because the market has been cleaned up. , and because people are going back to basics, ”Herlory said. “Vilebrequin’s absolute DNA is to be able to combine extreme fantasy and elegance. The recipe, the secret of the brand, was to be able to combine these two values to create a style. Luxury has this ability [convey] values. And the luxury customer of tomorrow, he will buy securities; he will buy durable. He will buy durability. He will buy quality. He will buy beauty. This will be the main trend for the years to come: not to spend, but to invest. It’s a different way of consuming. It’s not just about getting the product, but also about gaining experience. And luxury is clearly moving in that direction.
“So for me the future is bright,” Herlory said. “Fifty years is a good age. Its an asset. Life experience and expertise, you have had it over the years. “
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