Many may not be familiar with the birthplace of the world renowned Lacoste brand. Simply enough, René Lacoste, its founder and star tennis player, came with up with the brilliant pitch through his own athletic experiences.
As an elite athlete, who performed at the highest level in his respective sport, René Lacoste was used to holding the spotlight. His athletic accomplishments were impressive to say the least. Three time French Open champion, along with two Wimbledon titles, and two U.S. Open victories, René Lacoste was accustomed to the spotlight. Some say his achievements are those of a generation.
In 1927, the year in which he won the French and U.S. Open tournaments, René made for himself a set of shirts, which he believed to be “more comfortable to wear in the heat of the American courts.” Its mesh material, which allowed for complete perspiration absorption revolutionized men’s sportswear. His desire for a more prone tennis shirt geared the Lacoste brand for decades to come. His shirts endorsed freedom of movement, while maintaining their grace and elegance.
When René met Andre Gillier in 1933, things got really exciting. As the owner of one of the largest and oldest hosiery factories in Troyes specializing in mesh materials, Gillier was the clear choice for a business partner. The two teamed up, and created the shirts that became famous not only for their comfort and style, but also for their crocodile logo.
Where did this logo come from one may ask? The story goes that its birth erupted from a simple bet between members of the French tennis team in 1925. As René Lacoste walked through the streets of Boston, gazing at the boutiques, he came across a suitcase made of crocodile skin. “If I win the match, you must buy me this suitcase.” René exclaimed to the team captain. Although he did not win the match, he had fought like a real crocodile.
In 1927, his good friend and fellow sportsman, Robert George, designed a crocodile with its mouth open, which René wore on his blazer. Thus, the logo came to be.
In 1996, Lacoste’s founder died. His son, who took on the company died shortly after in 2006. That same year, Mr. Franck Riboud was appointed as new director, and Michel Lacoste, was named CEO.
To this day, Lacoste continues to fight against big companies such as Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, and Hugo Boss. Its clothes appeal to a wide range of people, and continue to inspire future clothing powerhouses to come.