THE POLO SHIRT WITH THE CROCODILE
"First and foremost, elegant clothing is characterised by the fact that it is appropriate to the situation and the circumstances," said tennis legend René Lacoste in 1933. The member of the legendary tennis team of the 1920s was as much an inventor as he was an athlete and, adapting the form to the function, he unceremoniously cut off the sleeves of his long-sleeved sports shirt for a tennis match. A flash of inspiration that also made René Lacoste a designer - and was to represent a milestone for tennis wardrobe. The short-sleeved polo shirt was born and with it the Lacoste brand.
THE LACOSTE CROCODILE: THE BIRTH OF A SYMBOL
Cutting off sleeves, however, had nothing to do with the future brand logo, the Lacoste crocodile. In fact, it comes from the nickname "The Alligator" given to René Lacoste by an American journalist. He had overheard Lacoste's coach jokingly promising him an expensive crocodile skin suitcase as a reward for winning the David Cup in Boston before a match in 1923. Using the name "Alligator" as a brand logo for René's short-sleeved polo shirts was an obvious move - and so the green reptile made its way into the sportswear industry.
THE PETIT PIQUÉ: ELEGANCE FOR THE EYE, COMFORT FOR THE SKIN
The inventiveness of tennis player René Lacoste was not limited to the use of scissors on shirt sleeves. The material of the polo shirts was also to be perfected. Not only for the sake of comfort, but also to make them suitable for everyday wear. The first form of the athleisure trend? Perhaps. Because the typical polo shirt owes its chic clean look to Lacoste's own "Petit Piqué". A knitting technique developed by René Lacoste that weaves high-quality cotton into a special mesh on a circular loom. The result: a highly flexible, resistant fabric that is comfortable against the skin and does not cause irritation even during sporting activity. Serve, point, set and win!
FOCUS ON FRENCH SAVOIR-FAIRE
The manufacturing process of the famous Lacoste polo shirts has remained unchanged since its creation in 1933 in Troyes, the French capital for textiles. To this day, the creation of a Lacoste shirt consists of five steps: Weaving the petit piqué fabric, dyeing it, cutting it to size, adding the crocodile logo and finally putting the pieces together. Even the logo is of the highest quality down to the last detail: up to 1600 hand stitches are needed for a Lacoste crocodile. Expert handwork that pays off: for over 85 years, the Lacoste shirt has been a perennial favourite on the market - and, if you look at it closely, a real work of art.
TEAM SPIRIT IS THE COMPANY PHILOSOPHY AT LACOSTE
René Lacoste not only entered into a love affair with the game of tennis. He was also taken with the 13-time winner of the French Golf Championships. "There was a real team spirit between us because of our common goal," is how the Lacoste founder described his relationship and the joint design work with his wife Simone de la Chaume. With such enthusiasm for ball sports, it was no surprise that their daughter Catherine also embarked on a successful sports career and, after winning the US Open and countless tournament victories, is still one of the best golfers around today. A passionate spirit that was also reflected in the Lacoste company. Since 1933, the brand has supported tennis and golf players who love ball sports just as much as the Lacoste family and who share the same sporting spirit. Mats Wilander, Guy Forget and Gustavo Kuerten are just a few of the unforgettable international sports legends who have been closely associated with Lacoste.
FROM POLO SHIRT TO RUNWAY SHOW
"We must always hope to play better than we have ever played before," Lacoste said. A philosophy that is also reflected in his brand. It is constantly evolving, picking up on current trends, daring to try new things, experimenting - without losing sight of itself. To this day, Lacoste collections amaze on the runway with fresh, unexpected designs that nevertheless pay homage to the brand's classic French style. Such is the case with Lacoste's Autumn/Winter 2019 collection, which has just been shown in Paris: The runway featured long straight-cut coats with flowing Marlene trousers, oversized polo shirts with sporty caps, reinterpreted polo shirt collars in colourful knits that refreshed the predominant colour palette of cream and camel tones. Particularly successful: The style break of long silk dresses over which typical polo sweaters in XXL were worn. And always in between, even if not in green on the runway: the typical Lacoste crocodile.