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It looked so out of place in the marina on Canouan, next to a supermarket that resupplies the superyachts that form the bulk of the berth-hoggers there. A little, closet-sized store with bright-colored men’s swim shorts festooning the walls? Crasqi, the sign read. What could that be doing here? I wondered, and intrigued, I stepped inside.
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Let’s admit it now. Men are just as picky about beachwear as women but we just rarely discuss it. There are those old dependables in every closet—think Vilebrequin and Orlebar Brown—but it’s hard to find something that’s flattering, high-quality and, well, forgiving, beyond those two standbys.
Yet in Crasqi’s $180 pairs, I found my forever shorts.
Perhaps it’s because I was persuaded to try them on by one of the co-owners, who happened to be working the register that day: Astrid Pedregal, a Venezuelan-born ex-banker. She vacationed here as a child and cooked up the idea of Crasqi when she saw her boyfriend wearing ugly shorts on the beaches here, infra dig for the jet-set clientele that surrounded them. Fast forward, and she persuaded her sister, a former dentist, to team up with her on Crasqi, a new swimwear line for men beyond that now ex-boyfriend. The pair named it in honor of an island in Venezuela, Crasqui, which they considered the most beautiful anywhere.
I was cynical when Pedregal started her pitch. Sure, the shorts had the eco bona fides essential to any luxury label now; there are six upcycled plastic water bottles in every pair, she explained proudly. And the firm’s active in marine conservation via the likes of Sea Camps, a coastal program aimed at educating children about what’s under the water. But she stressed something else above all: those shorts would surpass Vilebrequin and co in fit. “They’re the softest shorts you’ll ever wear,” she promised, “It’s like you’re not wearing anything.”
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So, I picked up a pair—fittingly, the pale pink style named Canouan, which came packaged in its own waterproof pouch. I wore them by the pool the next day and was instantly smitten. She was right: I’ve never unhesitatingly sported shorts like these, and forgotten I was even wearing them. They’re a little slimmer than a typical style, without cinching or clinging, and even better dry almost instantly.
The appeal of the line isn’t limited to comfort. Think of its color palette as bolder than Indiana Jones in a tight corner. Each pair is named after a different jet set locale—the latest collection leans heavily on the Indo-Pacific, with models named Palau and Palawan alongside St Barths and Jamaica—and it doesn’t shy away from clashing colors and swirling patterns, mostly inspired by reefs and other underwater life. That was a deliberate decision, Pedregal told me. “Our first collection was really bold, and we were nervous about it,” she told me, “But the boldest were our best sellers from the start.” It’s since moved into shirts and pants for me, and a small assortment of women’s clothes, but the swimwear remains its essential must-buy.
Since Crasqi launched almost a decade ago, the brand has become a discreet fixture of a certain niche of beach getaway, swimwear as password. The firm has standalone stores in Tulum and Formentera, Spain, and while the Canouan boutique is under renovation, you can pick them up at the nearby Mandarin Oriental. If you’d like to buy some before you leave home, there’s an online boutique, too.
Now, a year after I first sported my Canouan shorts in situ, they look as good as new. Perhaps that’s the only problem: you never need to buy more than one pair. Then again, I might just splurge on a backup in case anything ever happens to my favorite shorts.
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