Hello-Hello, happy new week to everyone, hopefully those with an extended weekend are enjoying every minute of it.
Today we look at a storied brand, one more than a few preps grew up wearing. This image offers a clue.
Many will recognize René Lacoste, inventor of the modern tennis wear now known as a ‘polo shirt’ and eponymous company. It was 1927 when the tennis great created his first shirt for wear on the court, 1933 when the company was formed, called La Société Chemise Lacoste. As Women’s Wear Daily notes, that was the year seeing “Industrial production of the first Lacoste shirts, in particular the white “petit piqué” cotton polo shirt, code-named the “L.12.12.” Below we see the tennis great in 1927.
One of the first things many think of when hearing the name “Lacoste” is that critter on the shirt’s upper left chest; Mr. Lacoste’s nickname was “Le Crocodile”. More from this WWD story:
The crocodile logo on his shirts is regarded in branding history as the first instance of a visible logo, although, ironically, it was criticized as vulgar at the time. And while the concept of product placement had not yet been invented, René Lacoste gave his crocodile shirts to friends to wear on the courts, building brand awareness.
Below, a 1993 print ad.
One of the more fascinating aspects of the logo story: check out the size of the animal on Mr. Lacoste’s jacket.
As the company celebrates its 80th anniversary it is doing very well. Its expansion has continued throughout the decades. Below, the brand’s Paris flagship store on the Champs-Elysées.
The company continued to innovate, Mr. Lacoste designed many inventions, including a steel racket, ball launcher and other items. Below, one of my favorite photos of the tennis champion and businessman.
Lacoste also pursued philanthropic efforts as well, for the company’s 60th anniversary they donated more than $1 million to a campaign trying to eradicate multiple sclerosis, more recently they have supported the BCRF (Breast Cancer Research Foundation) and efforts to save endangered alligators, crocodiles.
Over the years the brand has not lost its sense of whimsy, below we see its Valentine’s Day greeting appropriately rendered in red polo shirts.
Last week Lacoste showed it’s fall ready to wear collection. There is little that held appeal for your faithful scribe.
In honor of the 80th anniversary Lacoste is offering limited edition polo shirts, like this one with the number 8.
Lacoste still offers tennis togs, as well as swim, golf and other sporting apparel.
Although much of the marketing is aimed at a younger customer.
There are other initiatives in addition to apparel and accessories, like the Lacoste Lab.
The brand continues its tennis roots as well.
Its Lacoste Live collection is edgier, hipper.
Online the company even has a section on envisioning the polo of the future.
But there are still plenty of basics for those of us fond of the pieces that are the brand’s heritage.
Many of the polo More from the spring assortment.
It’s great to see the brand in a healthy position. I remain a fan, despite being a touch (cough-cough) beyond the demo Lacoste is pursuing. As long as they continue to offer quality merchandise at an acceptable price I’ll be happy to be a customer.
And to think I was worried it would be hard to find an image of a birthday cake appropriate for the post.
Until next time,