The Lacoste Brand Story
René Lacoste entered the legend of tennis when he and his teammates "The
Musketeers", stole the Davis Cup away from the Americans for the first time in 1927.
Not forgetting his three French Open victories (1925, 1927 and the Roland-Garros
stadium in 1929), his two victories in Great Britain (Wimbledon 1925 and 1928) and two
U.S. Open titles at Forest Hills (1926 and 1927).
René Lacoste was born in France on July 2, 1904 and died on October 12, 1996. The
true story of the "Crocodile" begins in 1927. René Lacoste liked to recount how his
nickname became an emblem recognized throughout the world.
I was nicknamed 'the Alligator' by the American press, after I made a bet with the
Captain of the French Davis Cup Team concerning a suitcase made from crocodile skin.
He promised to buy it for me if I won a very important match for our team. The public
must have been fond of this nickname which conveyed the tenacity I displayed on the
tennis courts, never letting go of my prey! So my friend Robert George drew a
'crocodile', which I then had embroidered on the blazer I wore on the courts."
An attentive spectator at René Lacoste’s Davis Cup matches was the winner of the
British Women’s golf title, Mademoiselle Simone Thion de la Chaume, who soon
became his wife and constant support.
In 1933, René Lacoste and André Gillier, the owner and President of the largest French
knitwear manufacturing firm of that time, set up a company to manufacture the logo
embroidered shirt. The champion had designed this for his own use on the tennis court,
as well as a number of other shirts for tennis, golf and sailing - as can be seen in the
first catalogue, produced in 1933.
To the best of our knowledge, this was the first time that a brand name appeared on the
outside of an article of clothing - an idea which has since become extremely successful.
This shirt revolutionized men’s sportswear and replaced the woven fabric, long-sleeved,
starched classic shirts. The first Lacoste shirt was white, slightly shorter than its
counterparts, had a ribbed collar, short sleeves with ribbed bands and was made of a
light knitted fabric called "Jersey petit piqué".
Today, it continues to offer the same quality, comfort and solidity on which it built its
name and which constitutes its uniqueness.
As an enduring legacy, the Lacoste brand has widely expanded over the years. Its
famous crocodile emblem can now be seen on shoes, eyewear, watches, bedding, bath
towels, bags, accessories, kid's shoes, as well as apparel.