Lacoste is not just a sports fashion house , it is the soul of sport. It is no coincidence that it was born from the hands and ideas of a true sportsman, a man who played and sweated before becoming a fashion designer . “He” and Rene Lacoste, French tennis champion who lived between 1904 and 1996. The idea of him, born from a trivial bet, will become the symbol of sportswear that will not only be casual but also elegant in its very sportiness.
With a turnover of almost 2 billion per year, Lacoste, “the brand with the Crocodile”, is still today a brand that enhances sporty clothing by giving it a dignity and a beauty that it otherwise would not have had.
If initially the goal was to make tennis a fashionable trend, over time the company has also been able to enhance other sports items – football, golf, polo shirts of course – even launching itself into the perfumery market. Always with success.
The sporting and private life of Rene Lacoste
Rene Lacoste was born in Paris on 2 July 1904 into a French family, in which his father was a partner in an automobile company, Hispano-Suiza, which was also given to Rene as a gift for having completed the school leaving examination.
Lacoste’s life is linked to tennis: exceptional champion of this discipline, together with Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and Jean Borotra he composed a formidable French team that participates in the Davis Cup and nicknamed the team of the ” four musketeers “. These succeed in the enterprise of snatching the Davis Cup from the Americans in 1927 and for six consecutive seasons, until 1932. Rene is the youngest of the group and loves to play under the net, elegant in the dribble, and truly a talented player.
During his career, he also won the Wimbledon tournament twice in singles (in 1925 and 1928), Roland Garros three times (1925, 1927 and 1929) and two editions of the US Open (1926 and 1928).
He retires at just 29 years old from tennis but winning practically everything. He marries the golfer Simone de La Chaume, who gives him four children, one of whom, Catherine, also becomes a sportswoman: in fact she becomes an excellent golf player.
The idea of the clothing brand was born in 1933 with his friend Andre Gillier, whose story will be described in the following lines.
Unfortunately, Rene Lacoste left us in 1996 in Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
Rene Lacoste’s idea
Rene Lacoste has already won everything when, in 1933, together with his friend Andre Gillier, he founded the company that today bears his name.
Between 1926 and 1932 he raised the name of French tennis, winning the Davis Cup for six years in a row as we have already written.
He retired at a very young age (he was only 29 years old) and decided to invent a new type of shirt that was more practical and functional for tennis players . He thus borrows the shapes of the polo shirts and modifies them slightly, creating the so -called “T-shirt” (T-shirt).
The Lacoste logo to be placed on the brilliant invention comes from a bet . When he was still playing tennis, Rene had bet his captain a crocodile suitcase if he ever won a major challenge. After six Davis Cups, that “crocodile” is not only deserved but becomes his nickname. ” Rene the Crocodile always wins” .
As Lacoste himself loved to tell:
“The US press dubbed me ‘The Crocodile’ after a bet I made with the captain of the French Davis Cup team. He promised me a crocodile suitcase if I won an important match for the team. The American public remembered this nickname which underlined the tenacity I demonstrated on the tennis courts, as I never gave up my prey! My friend Robert George drew me a crocodile which was then embroidered on the blazer I wore on the pitch ”.
And after the victories on the court, Rene also wins as a fashion designer: his t-shirt with the design of the green crocodile pinned on the chest becomes an exclusive and highly sought-after garment in a few years, not only by tennis lovers, but by all those who love fashion. Rene becomes a world famous French designer .
Crocodile brand: the Lacoste logo
What does the Lacoste logo look like?
The logo looks like a small stylized crocodile, usually green (although over the years made in other colors such as silver), which is hot affixed to clothing during production.
The logo is applied directly on the chest, near the heart, perhaps as a symbolic testimony of how for Rene that drawing made by his friend Robert George was worth a lot, so much so that it was in his heart.
Lacoste thus becomes the first fashion brand to put the logo directly on the garment, thus making it more visible to the public. An exceptional marketing operation.
Lacoste around the world
After the break from World War II, Lacoste began to expand the interest of the newborn company to other branches of sport. Everyone wants from him a winning idea for their uniforms.
After tennis, Rene’s care shifts to golf – not surprisingly he had married a beautiful golfer, with whom he had four children. The success of the clothing line also quickly conquered the world of football and other minor sports. And obviously the polo benefits from so much success, because the Lacoste jerseys also enhance this discipline, in name and functionality.
The arrival of the lively eighties stimulates Lacoste to try new horizons. He tests himself with the perfume market and here too he gets a wide consensus. With the addition of the footwear and accessories sector, Lacoste becomes a true international fashion house.
Features Lacoste polo shirt
The main characteristics of a Lacoste polo are the following:
- Mother-of-pearl buttons, in fact two buttons will never be the same, making each item of clothing purchased unique. The buttons are also devoid of logos or engravings, except for the three-button Lacoste sport series garments;
- Internal reinforcement tape , in pure silk, for the upper seams;
- Small lower slits;
- Very resistant to washing, but it is recommended to iron the garments inside out to maintain their quality;
- Size , almost always indicated by a number (2,3,4,5, for men and 34, 36, 38, for women) and not by abbreviations such as S, M, L, XL;
- The bright colors of each garment, up to the pastel ones;
Lacoste’s War with Crocodile
Lacoste faced a posthumous battle. In 2003, after the death of its founder, the company was cited by its rival Crocodile for the use of the crocodile in the logo .
In fact, the symbol of Crocodile was very similar. At the end of a long dispute conducted in particular on the Chinese market, Crocodile decided to modify its crocodile, leaving Lacoste the right recognition of the primacy. Even in this.
In total, there are currently 1,200 Lacoste single-brand shops scattered in 120 countries around the world, while there are 10,600 wholesalers. Finally, there are 19 online shops authorized to sell the brand.
Lacoste’s environmental cause
Lacoste is fully committed to the environmental cause. In fact, you have launched the “Save our Species” program in collaboration with IUCN , which aims to safeguard endangered animal species. An act that demonstrates how the brand cares about safeguarding its habitat.
The Lacoste club
Finally, there is the birth of a community of fans of the Lacoste brand, called “The Lacoste club” made by fans of the brand with the crocodile, which gives access to many advantages, such as discounts, exclusive products, gifts, advice from Lacoste experts. , and many other news about the brand.
There are four distinct levels of membership in the program:
To sign up for the program, simply access the company’s dedicated web page.
Our post dedicated to Rene Lacoste and his brand ends here. See you next time with our stories dedicated to the world of fashion.