Roland Herlory, CEO of Vilebrequin: "Our strength is bringing fantasy to guys wearing a grey suit all year long"
Sounds of summer
Helming the swimwear company that first invented the swim shorts, Roland Herlory chats to Buro about Vilebrequin as a microcosm of the ideal summer
"The pleasure of being barefoot in the sand with the sun above your head," Roland Herlory begins. "We look to create a lifestyle that comes from the spirit of '70s Saint-Tropez — an expression of fantasy, humour, freedom and joy." For the 45 year old French luxury swimwear label, it's this very guileless, bona fide core that speaks to the people. More than just the allure of their whimsical designs with quality patterning and stitching — something Herlory himself makes sure of — Vilebrequin's bouyant conviction for life itself transcends the merit any physical product can bring.
And just like the swimwear company, there are many sides to its captain Herlory. Professional yet free-spirited, mellow but passionate, and dignified with a mischievous side. Like a harmonious pairing wished into existence by Poseidon himself, he's constantly charting new territories to ensure the dynamic growth of the company. With the mercury on the rise, the brand launches two limited edition summer collaborations with Italian photographer Massimo Vitali and kings of '70s rock 'n' roll, The Rolling Stones. Letting Buro 24/7 Singapore in on his feel-good tunes and favoured warm-weather locales, read, listen and envision Herlory's depiction of a vibrant, sunkissed season ripe for seaside shenanigans. ON THE VILEBREQUIN x MASSIMO VITALI COLLABORATION "I'm an art lover and collector. I have a gallery and I really respect art so I'm always a little bit cautious when mixing it with fashion. In this case, a collaboration with Massimo Vitali was obvious to us, as he brought the image of the beach into the vocabulary of contemporary art. That guy is a master in his niche. This was our dream and it wasn't just us using his prints and name — it was a real partnership."
ON THE VILEBREQUIN x THE ROLLING STONES COLLABORATION "With The Rolling Stones, it's truly a huge opportunity. When their agent proposed that we do something together, we knew we had to take it on. How we're linked is quite ironic: Vilebrequin was born in 1971 in Saint-Tropez and the big event of the year was Mick and Bianca Jagger's wedding in the very same place. They're very close to our spirit in that way."
ON HIS FAVOURITE BEACHES IN THE WORLD "Definitely Saline beach in St Barts. I go there everyday while I'm there. Also, Mo'orea island near Tahiti, Polynesia. In Ibiza, Sa Trinxa is great purely for the ambience and the crowd where you get to let loose and dance. Another spot I like is in the north of Germany on the island of Sylt, where there are rolling sand dunes accompanied by the dark, wild North Sea."
ON HIS FAVOURITE SUMMER DRINK "Tea — litres of tea. I drink it all the time and all day long. I must have it everyday during the summer and even then, I take it hot. Top choices: Matcha and Oolong." ON HIS FAVOURITE SUMMER SONGS "The exact tune that I would like to incorporate into the Vilebrequin world is Sous le Soleil Exactement by Serge Gainsbourg. And of course, I love all songs by The Rolling Stones — in particular, Sympathy for the Devil."