This story first appeared in the May 1, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
HISTORY: In 1971, sports journalist Fred Prysquel created a pair of shorts from a piece of checkered tablecloth. The result was a cut that was forgiving to a man’s waistline, a more flattering option than the figure-hugging style of the time. Soon enough, Prysquel discovered material perfect for his line — a fast-drying canvas — and launched his Saint-Tropez-inspired brand. The line has since expanded to an entire lifestyle collection including shirts, outerwear and accessories.
NICHE: Vilebrequin’s European-made shorts go through 32 different manufacturing phases to ensure quality. The brand’s colorful prints come in matching father and son styles, a tradition that’s been established since the inception of the company. Today, the brand has 140 stores worldwide. Its newest location opened at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica, Calif., this week, with a Las Vegas location at the Fashion Show Mall opening later this month.
KEY ITEMS: Swim trunks, polo shirts, pants, flip-flops, eyewear and accessories.
PRICE POINTS: $185 to $650 for men’s swim trunks and $490 to $750 for outerwear.
DISTRIBUTION: Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman.
EXPANSION OBJECTIVES: “We want to open stores where our customers live and relax,” said Brian Lange, president of Americas for Vilebrequin. “Santa Monica, for instance, is a combination of both a popular place to live in the West Coast and an important vacation destination. It’s the Saint-Tropez of the U.S.”