Art meets swimwear in Vilebrequin’s colourful new collaboration
The French swimwear label unites with art publisher JRP Editions on a new collection adorned with works by artists John M Armleder, Sylvie Fleury, Kenny Scharf and Mickalene Thomas, displayed as part of London art fair Eye of the Collector
An artistic sensibility has long informed Vilebrequin, the French swimwear label founded in Saint-Tropez’s 1970s heyday. Alongside its own vivid prints – which over the decades have drawn on artistic movements from Op Art to Memphis – Vilebrequin has also collaborated with a veritable gallery-full of artists, photographers and other creative luminaries to capture the brand’s escapist spirit through a wide-ranging lens. (Alex Israel, Derrick Adams, Donald Sultan, and Virgil Abloh are just a handful of the names whose designs have adorned signature swim shorts and accompanying resort wear.)
A just-revealed collaboration sees Vilebrequin team up with esteemed Swiss art publisher JRP Editions, introducing a new group of artists into the fold, including John M Armleder, a Switzerland-born performance artist, sculptor and painter who lives and works in Geneva. The latter medium informs this latest collaboration, which sees one of his signature abstract ‘pour’ paintings appear on matching swim shorts and shirt and a bag (Armleder’s second design features a motif of a melting ice cube). Created by pouring and splashing paint in various colours onto the canvas at random, the works capture a sense of carefree abandon – an apt visual metaphor for Vilebrequin’s own approach, rooted in feelings of joy, freedom and letting go.
Other artists taking part in the project, which is curated by JRP Editions’ founder Lionel Bovier and titled ‘Artists’ Editions’, include Sylvie Fleury, Kenny Scharf and Mickalene Thomas, the last working alongside partner Racquel Chevremont on pieces that will arrive later this year. ‘We wanted to curate a collection that would allow us to explore as many voices and models as possible,’ says Bovier. ‘This meant bringing together artists with radically different approaches, 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.’
A special exhibit – curated by Bovier alongside Arnaud Hubert, CEO of JRP Editions – will celebrate the collection’s launch, displayed as part of Eye of the Collector, a ‘next-generation’ art fair that runs at London’s historic Two Temple Place this month (12 – 14 May 2022). Featuring alongside works from the fair’s 24 participating galleries, the various pieces from the limited-edition collection will be on view amid the space’s dramatic gothic renaissance surroundings. §