Massimo Vitali and Vilebrequin shift perspectives, swapping the sands of Porquerolles for the pool of Le Provençal. The second vibrant installment in a collection of wearable art. Now available at Melrose Arch
The collaboration between Massimo Vitali and Vilebrequin was inevitable: while Vitali has dedicated his career to the art of seaside photography, Vilebrequin has been dressing the chicest bathers since 1971.
As an Italian, Massimo is fascinated by rise of tanning clans on the Mediterranean coastline, identifying “beach lovers” and “rock lovers”. With this in mind, he came up with a two-part photo project for Vilebrequin paying tribute to different vacation styles on the Riviera. A mere 60km from St-Tropez, the spots chosen by Massimo each reflect the spirit of never-ending summer in their own unique manner: the protected shores of Porquerolles Island and the rocky poolside of the legendary Provençal Hotel in the Giens peninsula.
If last year’s Porquerolles capsule collection was a tribute to all the beach lovers, this time around, Massimo points his lens to the other side of the water, shooting the Provençal so that rock lovers can pledge their allegiance by wearing the pool print on their swimwear.
Surprising though it may seem, Vilebrequin and the Provençal share a common thread,having made their debut during the golden days of the French Riviera. The Provençal was founded in 1951 by Marius Michel, a former chef at the Lido in Paris, while Fred Prysquel, then a racing car journalist, went on to design the first ever pair of Vilebrequins in St-Tropez in 1971. Both were revolutions in their own right – and still are!
Marius Michel was responsible for designing the first ever salt water pool cut from the rock, while Fred Prysquel ushered in a whole new generation of swimwear. Fast-forward to 2016, and vacationers the world over continue to wear Vilebrequin swim shorts. But perhaps not enough for Massimo Vitali’s liking! If you look a little close, you may just spot a few more in the frame thanks to a playful mise en abyme technique.
The photograph features on the house’s signature Moorea swimsuit and on a beach tote.