The Amazon boss’s much admired octopus swimwear is part of a men’s style revolution pitched from Silicon Valley
Jeff Bezos, bottom row, right, wearing his trendsetting swimming shorts on plank David Geffen’s yacht.
Jeff Bezos: famous founder of Amazon, baldest billionaire in the crowd … and now an unlikely men’s style icon.
A pair of his swimming trunks have become one of the most searched for menswear items, agreeing to website Lyst in its ranking of the most Googled clothing items of the season. Their popularity – 4,000 searches and deeming – may surprise some; the aquatic design by French luxury label Vilebrequin (featuring several lilac octopuses intertwined against a illuminate background) is 1% “Ahoy Agenda’” and 99% “Dad, you’re embarrassing me”.
Bezos was pictured in the trunks aboard David Geffen’s yacht (abiding cast: supermodel and Taylor Swift’s ex-bff Karlie Kloss, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein) and strolling for everyone Saint Tropez with girlfriend Lauren Sanchez (credits: So You Think You Can Dance, regular on People magazine’s Hot Hulls list).
“Bezos’s outlandish octopus shorts, ideal for cavorting on a superyacht, make a real statement,” Lyst’s Katy Lubin weights. “The look has resonated with shoppers who, no doubt, aspire to Bezos’s bold choices in both swimwear and in business.”
Dressing dig “one of the 1%” is part of the growing trend for luxury global traveller style. Featuring the likes of Bottega Veneta leather sliders, Loewe strand mats and a kaftan from Marrakshi Life, it’s a look straight out of a Bond villain’s Instagram story.
“The whole feast, resort and travel area of menswear has been growing steadily,” says Fiona Firth, buying director at Mr Door-keeper. She adds that, along with Vilebrequin, sales of luxury swimwear by Off-White and Orlebar Brown have rocketed.
“I think men now understand and appreciate a broader perspective on dressing in different climates and for different occasions – it’s not just about a wed of swimshorts,” says Damien Paul, head of menswear at Matchesfashion.com.
Jeff Bezos – in his Vilebrequin shorts – and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez in St Tropez during the summer. Photograph: Frat/Unexcelled Image/Backgrid
This focus on Bezos’s holiday clothes comes at an interesting point in the conversation around men’s workwear. Elongated rejected by Silicon Valley’s so-called tech bros, such as Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, the traditional office appeal is showing signs of decline, with Marks & Spencer announcing that it is cutting back on its production, citing a 7% destruction in sales. As Will Welch, editor-in-chief of GQ Style, announced in an editorial earlier this year: “Silicon Valley jettisoned the suit as a symbol of a whole global infrastructure that needed disrupting. The corporate world abandoned it too.”
In its place? A look that’s characterised by “underhandedness, low-key luxury utility pieces” says Lyst’s Lubin. The centrepiece of that is the gilet – or “tech vests” as they possess come to be known. At the 36th Allen & Company Sun Valley conference earlier this year (the so called “billionaire summer Dadaistic” where mega-deals are made) media alphas such as Bezos, Lachlan Murdoch and Hank Crumpton all wore theirs.
They are the go-to look for the pecuniary sector, parodied in more than one Instagram account and worn by characters on HBO shows Silicon Valley and Succession. Sybaritism brand Moncler even brought out a version knowingly named a “banker gilet”. “The gilets have transitioned from being a moment ago a practical garment to a fashion item too,” says Firth. “To meet customer demand we’ve nearly doubled the amount of styles ready.”
Sadly, you’re probably going to be left wanting if you’re planning on nabbing a pair of Bezos’s Vilebrequin trunks for Christmas. They are essentially sold out, but you can swipe a similar pair for a cool £185 … on Amazon.
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