When Ronen Jehezkel and Parke Lutter met in 1993, Jehezkel had earned a degree in Alta Moda from a design school in Italy and Lutter was studying fashion at Parsons in Manhattan. They knew instantly that they had a future together, so in 1997, after Lutter graduated, the romantic partners became creative partners, their combined interests of Italian haute couture and New York's downtown scene giving birth to the label Parke & Ronen. Two decades later, the duo has come to dominate the luxury swimwear market, while also offering an array of sportswear, muscle-hugging T-shirts, and classy knitwear (not to mention a few very memorable men's crop tops).
Now, to commemorate its 20th anniversary, Parke & Ronen has released a greatest-hits collection that features some of its most iconic, best-selling pieces. "Mostly, this is a moment to reflect," says Lutter. "We're proud that we've weathered the storms--from 9/11 to the Great Recession--and continue to thrive. And we're grateful that we've had the chance to stay totally independent. It's such a rare opportunity to be able to develop a brand that is creatively 100% our own."
Available at their Chelsea flagship and online, the capsule highlights three swimwear styles: the flowery Espana, the breezy Ripley, and the skimpier Stella. "Ultimately the focus was on the pieces that felt the most intrinsically Parke & Ronen as well as the most timeless," says Lutter. "Also, we gravitated towards pieces that held personal significance for us." The Espana print, for example, appeared in the pair's first show at New York Fashion Week, while the Ripley trunks are an homage to a holiday they took to Italy in 2014.
The collection will also be sold in a pop-up store later this summer in Paris, but Fire Island vacationers can get a taste of it all season at another pop-up mounted in the Pines. Because what better place to celebrate 20 years in the business than the gay swimsuit capital of the world?