Saint Tropez is associated with many things. For most summer tourists it is jostling for space to see the great, the rich and the A-listers meeting for villa soirées in Le Club 55 on Pampelonne beach or at the Byblos hotel’s Les Caves du Roy nightclub. For others, the wooded, rocky St Tropez peninsula providing panoramic views across the sea to the Maures mountains is where they want to be seen. As Peregrine writes, “It is, though, only the sheen. It disguises a multi-layered life, from villa evenings with moguls through to locals going to the market with baskets to do their daily shopping.”
It was this environment, this atmosphere, with the strolling vacationers and painters on the quayside, the influence of screen icon Brigitte Bardot starring in Et Dieu… créa la femme several years earlier who inspired Fred Prysquel in 1971 to sketch a design for swimwear on the edge of a table cloth. A design which became the Moorea – a feat of engineering were the shorts are manufactured using spinnaker sailcloth, chosen for its quick drying qualities, reinforced with double seams to ensure durability with eyelets positioned on the back below the waistband allowing water to flow rapidly out of the suit, subsequently stopping them billowing as the swimmer leaves the water – led to Prysquel founding Vilebrequin. A brand named after Prysquel’s passion for motor racing – Vilebrequin is the French word for crankshaft – and a brand synonymous with ingenuity, quality, craftsmanship and style. The originality the initial creations were crafted with can be seen today, with the launch of the Spring/Summer 2016 Happy collection and its subsequent advertising campaign.
The collection is comprised of T-shirts, shorts and swimwear and is inspired by quirky graphics, bold colour ways, and an ever-lasting summer, offering consumers a wide variety of styles, fits and finishes. This variety has been intrinsic to Vilebrequin since its diversification into womenswear and childrenswear – the Father and Son range was launched in 1994, with the Mother and Daughter line following in 2013. In 2014, Vilebrequin extended their product offering to also include resort wear, in addition to men’s and women’s beach accessories while maintaining their core values of elegance and freedom.