PARIS — Though summer may still be a distant dream for some, Vilebrequin on Thursday unveiled looks from its soon-to-launch women’s capsule designed by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.
Channeling a Seventies, Saint-Tropez-meets-California vibe, the collection, set to launch in April, spans swimwear, leisurewear, accessories and towels, with a few men’s items, including printed beach shorts, sprinkled in.
Highlights include color-blocked terry toweling T-shirts and sweatshirts with playful motifs and stitching details; cloud print cotton tunics with adjustable shoulder straps, and trompe l’oeil bikinis with contrast colorblocking.
“I was thinking about how to make the body appear slimmer,” Castelbajac said during a recent preview of the collection. “They are all based on transformation — playful clothes with a sport chic attitude,” added the designer, who included a playsuit inspired by Jane Birkin in Jacques Deray’s 1969 classic “The Swimming Pool.”
“I liked the idea that women’s wear is still young for the brand, and bringing my vision to it,” continued the designer who also reworked the house logo, using a sheer rainbow stripe to partly mask the first few letters of the brand name to leave “requin” — French for shark — exposed. Stores will be wrapped in the logo for the launch.
Part of G-III Apparel Group Ltd.’s portfolio since 2012, Vilebrequin introduced its “mother and daughter” line five years ago. The category represents around 20 percent to 25 percent of sales in the stores that carry the women’s line, and globally around 12 percent of total sales, according to Roland Herlory, chief executive officer of the French luxury swimwear-maker, who is looking to grow the category.
“It’s a very competitive market, but the potential is huge,” the executive said. “Everybody is trying now to focus on swimwear: If you look at Chanel’s recent acquisition of Orlebar Brown, it’s not by accident, then Hermès hired somebody from Eres two or three years ago to reinforce its line.”
Herlory’s plan is for Vilebrequin to be known as “the best swimwear brand in the world” in terms of quality and durability.
Prior to joining the brand in 2012, the executive worked for around 25 years at Hermès.