Meet the man who didn’t find a perfect bathing suit for himself until he actually made one from scratch. And then he made one for his partner. And for his friends. And a decade and thousands of bathing suits later, Alphonse Deserville’s distinctive bathing suit designs are a sought-after commodity for any men looking to stand out, and up, in Puerto Vallarta’s popular Los Muertos beach. I distinctly remember visiting Alphonse Deserville’s home for my first-ever custom-made bathing suit fitting. He keeps an impeccably decorated condo in the heart of Puerto Vallarta’s “gayborhood” with wall colors matching some of my favorite green hues. But beyond the immediate “I-gotta-try-this-at-home” quick glance at his home, my eyes were immediately drawn to his workspace, a tiny corner in the apartment, where his sewing machine was conveniently located next to a closet stashed with fabrics I didn’t even think existed. Next to it, several racks of ready-made bathing suits in different sizes and shapes laid there, waiting to be explored by yours truly. But I was more interested in the custom-made experience. I had heard about Alphonse’s professional and personalized fittings and wondered if he could actually do something for my less-than-perfect body, let alone my worse-than-perfect body image! One thing I knew for sure: I had to find the time and opportunity to make a portrait of Alphonse surrounded by his creations. And although it took several years to get around to it, it was well worth the wait.
What is now a very successful cottage industry here in Puerto Vallarta, actually began approximately ten years ago, when Alphonse, unable to find a bathing suit that he felt comfortable wearing, decided to design one for himself. Being no stranger to fabric and sewing machines, his task was so well accomplished, his friends quickly began asking for custom-made bathing suits. At some point, his trademark emblem was incorporated into the designs, and before you can say “too tight,” a full-time pursuit was born.
Despite his success, Alphonse continues to rely on word-of-mouth to reach his customers. Employing three studly guys to hang around Puerto Vallarta’s popular Los Muertos beach flaunting both their gifts and his wears doesn’t hurt the eye, and has proven his most successful marketing strategy (and who wouldn’t want a job like that!). A brand-new website also helps him reach out-of-towners. On the website you can browse the six different cuts available, which include standard names like “bikini” and “olympic,” but you can also compromise by picking a “B-Twini” or a “Mini B-Twini,” clever choices created to meet client demands. And while 80% of his sales today consist of ready-made suits, he continues to offer custom-made fittings and can turnaround a finished bathing suit faster than you can imagine!
You can contact Alphonse by email, but chances are that if you’re wandering around Los Muertos beach and you come across someone wearing one of his creations, you will at least have a good excuse to start a friendly conversation with a stranger!
May 2009 Update: Ready to flaunt your assets? Lift your cheeks in style with the Alphonse Maneuver!