“Bringing art to the beach has always been the dream,” said Roland Herlory, chief executive officer of Vilebrequin, which is part of the G-III Apparel Group. “This long-term collaboration with JRP Editions will push our artistry to new places over the coming seasons.”
That includes the original Saint-Tropez trunk, men’s and women’s swimsuits, tops and accessories, like bags, hats, beach towels and even custom-print ping-pong sets. There are 25 pieces in total, that come in various hues such as purple hot rod flames, rainbow-color happy faces, sea turtles, graffiti-like splashes of paint and shades of sky blue, while exploring such themes and topics as elitism, feminism, fetishized luxury, randomness, gender-identity and artists of color.
“Our swimsuit fabrics are an entirely new terrain for artists,” Herlory explained. “We do not consider what we do art; we’re more focused on reproducing artists’ work as closely as possible to the original in the most honest and respectful manner. With the know-how of Vilebrequin studio and ateliers, we are capable of delivering printing techniques that reproduce an original artwork’s unique color and contrast as faithfully as possible.”
John Armleder, one of the artists featured in the collaboration, added: “There is no essential difference between a painting, a print or a swimsuit. What changes fundamentally here is the context and the distribution modes of the object. The forms and compositions can thus migrate freely from one support to the other.”
Additional artists include Kenny Scharf, Sylvie Fleury, and Racquel Chevremont and Mickalene Thomas, also known professionally as “Deux Femmes Noires.” The collaboration was curated in partnership with JRP Editions founder Lionel Bovier, who also serves as director of MAMCO, a contemporary art museum in Geneva, and Arnaud Hubert, chief executive officer of JRP Editions.
“We wanted to curate a collection that would allow us to explore as many voices and designs as possible,” Bovier said. “This meant bringing together artists with radically different approaches, but who share an interest in how their work can migrate from the canvas or walls to textile. They are united by a common thread: the power of their work, the clarity of their artistic language and the integrity with which Vilebrequin handled their projects.”
The limited-edition collection launched May 3, just in time for warm weather and summer travels, on vilebrequin.com and JRP-editions.com, as well as select global Vilebrequin stores. The collection, though now out as the world reopens, was actually conceptualized during the pandemic when people were still just dreaming of far-flung getaways. A second drop, the “Faces in Places” print by artist Kenny Scharf will come out June 21, followed by a second capsule later this year and a third in early 2023. Sizes range from XS to 3XL in men’s and XS to XL in women’s, with prices ranging from $105 to $315.
Vilebrequin was founded by Fred Prysquel in Saint-Tropez in 1971 as a men’s swimwear business. In 2012, G-lll Apparel Group purchased the brand. The following year, women’s swimwear was added to the mix.