Just as I thought I had my off‑duty summer wardrobe sorted, I discovered a raft of brilliant new beach-lifestyle pieces in punchy patterns.
Matchesfashion.com’s Vacation Studio has some amazing under-the-radar slouch-chic labels stocked alongside familiar brands. Thorsun has fresh, illustration-inspired prints on its swim shorts (£190), while French label Robinson Les Bains has a stylish old-school logo on its retro-print trunks (£138). I’d also recommend the latter’s non-swim beachgear, especially T-shirts (£95), vests (£65) and shorts (£70) in multistripe cotton blends with a faded vintage feel, and a Breton-stripe jersey sweat pant (£135) and singlet (£128). Then there’s Thaddeus O’Neil, founded by a former LA surfer, which specialises in ultra-relaxed linen/cotton/cashmere separates, including pastel singlets (£160), ikat-patterned sweat pants (£330) and striped tees (£160) and matching bottoms (£245) with asymmetric slashes of marl. Baja East makes superb cashmere-blend gear for balmy evenings. Drapey intarsia-patterned cardigans (£1,270), V-neck silk/linen tanks (£555) and shorts (£475) all feature a hip modern take on Aztec‑style prints.
Orlebar Brown first set the contemporary benchmark for well‑cut men’s swim shorts – then further raised the bar by offering an entire resort and sporty lifestyle range. Now, in a collaboration with iconic Italian print house Emilio Pucci, archive designs such as Baiadera (1978), Labirinto (1965) and Dischi (1967) are given a fresh reworking. The 20-piece collection comes in several styles, but I most like the Setter (£215) and Bulldog (£225) shorts and Gilroy rash top (£250, Labirinto). Pair the trunks with something in a complementary block colour, such as the label’s new towelling tops with short (£95) or long (£140) sleeves, in navy, grey, white or rich teal, or textured linen shirts both with (£165) and without (£145) buttons, in navy, coral and sky blue.
Zesty, patterned swim shorts are what Vilebrequin is best known for, but this season’s new prints and models really are knockout. The Moorea shorts (£170) look great in the V-birds or Les Toucans pattern, or with blown-up words on the front and back, such as Sunrise/Sunset. The Merise (£180) – a shorter stretch style – now comes in 19 new shades, many available in rather charming father and son (£75) sizes.
More unusual prints can be found at new La Perla menswear. Of the checked swimwear (£135), the black/turquoise gingham Shantung-silk version (£788) is interestingly offbeat, while silky Deep Ocean board shorts (£365), printed with ink-and-wash jellyfish, flying fish or seahorse illustrations, channel an aquatic theme. Post-swim, try the steely-blue patterned silk shorts and plain button-top set (£269).
Missoni’s designs tone down the colour and channel a mix of north African and surfer style into a multistripe gillet (£400), summer scarf (£290), drill cargo shorts (£380) and an ikat‑effect cotton shirt (£400). The hand-embroidered hooded djellaba (£2,990) is also spectacular.
As one might expect, Hermès hits an understated, distinguished note with shorts in ochre patterns (£315), subdued florals (£330) or black prints on dark backgrounds (£315). Blue and black magenta-trimmed canvas hats (£305) and Kos calfskin sandals (£510) complete the look. The brand’s Chaine d’Ancre motif also finds its way onto accessories such as canvas fishing hats (£305) and versions of the label’s slip-on sneaker (£415) that match wool/silk Naoussa scarves (£440). Other scarves of note are those with fractured equestrian Naxos designs (£620) or Glitch geometric repeats (£320).
I like the panache of a patterned scarf, loosely tucked inside a shirt. Anderson & Sheppard’s Holiday Shop has some great ones, especially the ikat designs in silk/cashmere (£195) or cotton (£60). A classic hat adds a final flourish and the brand’s Valencia (£195) or Pico (£145) Panamas are excellent.