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