A Vilebrequin Father's Day: Beachfront Daddies Get Their Crankshafts Turned
Vilebrequin's french definition might not exactly translate as "killer beach-trou, bro," but that's what you'll hear all day long whilst sporting a pair. I test-drove this slick import in demanding summery conditions featuring 95-degree scorch, scampering tots, sun-worshipping hipsters, and riparian resplendence along the James River in Richmond, Virginia. The view flowed from blue sky to lush green vegetation, punctuated by a smattering of kayaks that made the panorama look like the scene of a brief paint gun fight. On the rocky beachhead, the afternoon produced a lithe parade of string bikinis, tankinis, and bandinis (sadly, no monokinis). Nearly all of the males wore board shorts of various lengths and tattoos of questionable taste as they reposed on tattered blankets and pulled lotion from beat-up backpacks. The stylish exception shone like a beacon of smartness: my two boys and me in matching Jim & Jam Vilebrequin swimtrunks (those ain't no cute models in the pix, these are our family photos...Brooks & Sebastion with yours truly). If the day were a William Carlos Williams poem, I'd say that So much depends / upon / a blue rabbit / glazed with river / water / besides the white / linen.
Vilebrequin rhymes with "celebs will grin," and anyone who's taken holiday on the gulf of Saint-Tropez will recognize the reinforced double-stitching, spinnaker canvas, and the braided tying cords tipped with engraved zamac, an alloy that will never tarnish or corrode. If you own a bespoke suit, a tailored shirt, or custom cufflinks, this is your bathing suit. I mean, why on earth would you wear cut-off denims shorts to anything other than a costume party, Daisy Duke convention, or a spontaneous dip outside the Diesel outlet? If you don't yet have a shirt-maker on your speed-dial, consider this your entryway into fine duds. Appreciate the couture of hand-cut back pockets for pattern alignment, water wallet for stowing cash and cards dryly, and a signature label upon the rear waistband that's a handsome and subtle, anti-gauche declaration of brand. Add to this garment's quality construction the whimsical, classic, breezy, patterns of tropical flora and fauna the likes of which one might find papering the walls of cabanas in exotic locales, and you've got a helluva reason to hit the surf.
Auto-mechanics who minored in French might recognize that vilebrequin means "crankshaft" en français, a reference to the designer's passions for fine automobiles. Yet there's a more potent connection: the crank is that part of an engine that translates the up and down motion of pistons into rotation and gets the flywheel turning. Indeed, with a pair of these bad boys on your beach bod, the motors of nearby babes will rev. Yet, let's not leave out those gents who flirt not with strange, floppy-hatted lasses, but with their own honies and baby mamas. For those husbands and daddies of the lot who've forsaken the post-nuptial beer belly for a more svelte playground form, Vilebrquin is a more modest alternative than men's brief-style swimsuits.
To really show off your family jewels, the Jim & Jam "Father & Son" collection lets you do so without having to don a Speedo. Like a papa lion teaching the young males of his pride to hunt, a daddy who dresses his cub in a matching set of trunks imparts upon him the responsibility of style and the tenets of impeccable cool. In that phase of a man's life when seaside jaunts are more about building sandcastles with the tots than preening for tanned lovelies flocking around the volleyball net, he can always relish the unparalleled delight of being THAT dad, the one who invests in his own brood with the same panache that landed him a childbearing mate in the first place. And if he's got to tote toys to the pool, why not pack it all in a bag that holds his gear without dropping his street cred? Add-in the linen shirt and you can transition from sun rays to the raw bar in a crisp white flash.
So ladies, step away from the tie store, golf-themed schlock, and those useless desktop gadgets at that gifty shop in the mall. What he wants for Father's Day is recognition that he's still got it, that you'd lower your sunglasses to check him out up close all over again. Slip some Vilebrequin across his well-shaped gluteals and remind him that even with some salt and pepper at his temples, his crankshaft still has plenty of spunk.
To outfit your sugardaddy on Sunday, June 20 and beyond...
"Rabbits" swimsuit (Moorea style, adult), $200
"Rabbits" swimsuit (junior), $130 (size 8 fit the 6-yr-olds nicely)
White linen shirt, $220
Printed border towel, $200
Travel bag, $580