LACOSTE

A crocodile: some think of two rows of razor-sharp teeth, others think of handbags, others of puppet theatre performances in nursery. But if you ask specifically for the image that comes into someone's head when you mention the word "crocodile", the answer is much more uniform: the Lacoste logo! The bright green embroidered reptile is the famous trademark of classic polo shirts, the casual chic style of tennis and golfers, timeless casual French chic. Put short: it is the symbol of a cult brand that has been shaping the sports and fashion scene for over 85 years.

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THE POLO SHIRT WITH THE CROCODILE

"First and foremost, elegant clothing is characterised by its suitability for its the situation and circumstances," said tennis legend René Lacoste in 1933. A legendary tennis player in the Twenties, he was both an inventor and an athlete and, adapting form to function, quickly cut off his long sleeved sports shirt for a tennis match. A brainwave that made René Lacoste a designer - a milestone event in tennis fashion. The short-sleeved polo shirt was born and with it the Lacoste brand.

THE LACOSTE CROCODILE: DESIGNATION OF A SYMBOL

However, the cutting off of the sleeves 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. Before a game in 1923, he'd heard Lacoste's coach jokingly promise him an expensive suitcase of crocodile skin as a reward for winning the Davis Cup in Boston. Using the name "Alligator" as a brand logo for René's short-sleeved polo shirts seemed a no-brainer - and so the green reptile made its way into the sportswear industry.

THE PETIT PIQUÉ: ELEGANCE FOR THE EYE, COMFORT FOR THE SKIN

However, the ingenuity of tennis player René Lacoste was not limited to the use of scissors on shirt sleeves. He also strove to perfect the polo shirt material. Not just for the comfort of wearing, but also to make it suitable for everyday use. The first form of athleisure trends? Possibly. Because the typical polo shirt owes its chic, clean look to Lacoste's own "Petit Piqué". A knitting technique developed by René Lacoste, weaving high-quality cotton on a circular loom into a special mesh. The result: a highly flexible, resistant fabric, which is pleasant to the skin and does not cause any irritations during physical activity. Game, set and match!

FOCUS ON FRENCH SAVOIR FAIRE

The manufacturing process of the famous Lacoste polo shirts has remained unchanged since Lacoste's founding in 1933 in Troyes, the French textile capital. A Lacoste shirt is still created in five steps: weaving of the petit piqué fabric, dyeing, cutting, attaching the crocodile logo and finally assembling the pieces. Even the logo is of the highest quality, down to the smallest detail: it takes up to 1600 hand stitches to create a Lacoste crocodile. Expert handwork which is worth it: for over 85 years, the Lacoste shirt has been a perennial favourite on the market - and, if you look closely, a real work of art.

TEAM SPIRIT IS LACOSTE'S COMPANY PHILOSOPHY

René Lacoste not only entered into a love story with the game of tennis. The 13-times winner of the French Golf Championship also captured his heart. "Our common goal created a true team spirit between us", said the Lacoste founder about his relationship and collaborative design work with his wife, Simone de la Chaume. With such enthusiasm for ball sports, it was not surprising that their daughter Catherine had a successful sports career and is considered one of the best female golfers of all time after winning the US Open and countless other tournaments. A passionate spirit which was also reflected in the Lacoste company. Since 1933, the brand has been supporting tennis and golfers who love ball sports as much as the Lacoste family and have the same sporting spirit. Mats Wilander, Guy Forget and Gustavo Kuerten are just a few of the unforgettable international sports legends who were closely associated with Lacoste.

FROM POLOSHIRT TO CATWALK SHOW

"We always have to hope to play better than we've ever played before," said Lacoste. A philosophy that is reflected in his brand. It continues to evolve, picking up on current trends, daring new things, experimenting - without losing sight of itself. To this day, Lacoste collections astonish people on the catwalk with fresh, unexpected designs that still honour the classic French style of the brand. The same applies to the Lacoste Autumn/Winter Collection 2019, which has just been shown in Paris: Laoste graced the catwalk with long straight-cut coats and flowing Marlene trousers, oversized polo shirts with sporty caps, reinterpreted polo-neck collars of colourful knit that refreshed the prevailing palette of cream and camel tones. Especially successful: the break in style of typical polo tank tops in XXL size worn over long silk dresses. And always there, though not on the catwalk in green: the signature Lacoste crocodile.

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