At the age of 18, René Lacoste lived in Bordeaux with his family and was a gifted student at the Polytechnic School. Just like his father, he was passionate about sport and playing tennis took up most of his time. This passion finally led him to abandon his studies to invent his own life. Match after match, René Lacoste wrote the history of tennis until he became the best player in the world (1926-1927) With seven Grand Slam titles under his belt, he made a name for himself - and even earned a nickname. In Boston in 1923, his captain promised to buy him a crocodile leather suitcase he had been admiring in a shop window if he won his next match. René lost, but in tribute to his tenacity on the court and in reference to this unusual bet, the American press christened him “the crocodile.” The nickname was quickly adopted throughout the tennis world. René himself even encouraged it, asking his friend and stylist Robert George to sew a crocodile onto the white jackets he wore when arriving onto the court. And with that, the legend began.
In 1930, René Lacoste married a golf champion, Simone Thion de la Chaume. Despite the fact golf was reserved for men at the time, this daring woman became one of the figures who shook up accepted customs and helped change the world. The couple lived by the values of excellence, humility, passion and fair play - values that guided the Lacoste family and were passed down to Catherine Lacoste, a world team golf champion (1967).
René Lacoste’s story was written by challenging tradition. In 1933, he brought a revolution to the courts in the form of a flexible, lightweight polo shirt in “petit piqué” cotton, flying in the face of the regular shirts imposed on tennis players.
In 1933, he founded Lacoste with André Gillier, which became the first brand to feature a logo on its clothing.
As a true visionary, he patented a shock absorber inserted between the strings on rackets in 1960, followed by a steel racket in 1963 that went on to win 46 Grand Slam titles between 1966 and 1978!
During the 1950s, Lacoste clothing began to be exported across the world. With the development of a children’s line, this period heralded a change: the birth of a transgenerational icon. Beyond its products, Lacoste is also defined by a sporting spirit that continues to guide the brand’s choices today in both its collections and commitments to society and sustainability. In the freedom-loving late 1960s, Lacoste moved close to the net with its first Eau de Toilette. The brand designed the fragrance in collaboration with French fashion designer and perfumer Jean Patou.
Lacoste became the official sponsor of Roland-Garros. The brand and the iconic tennis stadium have maintained a unique relationship since 1927, as the construction of the ground was launched after René Lacoste and the “Four Musketeers” of French tennis won the Davis Cup in the United States.
In 1928, Roland-Garros was ready to host the following Davis Cup, won once again by René Lacoste and his fellow players.
Lacoste continued developing new ranges of elegant accessories and created a line of eyewear in collaboration with designer Cahours de Virgile.
Lacoste launched its first leather goods collections in partnership with designers upholding French leather traditions. Pieces included belts designed with Maison Hamon and luggage and sports bags with Sogedi. The brand inaugurated its first Lacoste casual footwear with British group Pentland, a shoe manufacturer founded in 1932. Extreme precision, the elegance of movement. Lacoste innovated once again and showcased its sense of timing by revealing its first line of watches at the Basel Watch Fair.
Launched in 2006 and supported by the Fondation de France, the Lacoste Foundation helps with the social and professional integration of underprivileged young people and those with disabilities.
In 2012, Lacoste was acquired by Maus Frères SA, a family-run business founded in Geneva in 1902. Fascinated by the brand and the man behind it, Maus Frères SA - currently directed by Lacoste CEO Thierry Guibert - upholds the same heritage and values of optimism, passion, elegance, bravery and tenacity.
Since this acquisition, Maus Frères SA has developed a portfolio of brands, MF Brands Group, centred on a single sector, clothing and accessories, through premium brands such as Lacoste, Gant, Aigle, Tecnifibre and more recently The Kooples in 2019.
Novak Djokovic, world no. 1 and one of the most revered players in the History of tennis, is appointed brand ambassador of Lacoste. He epitomises elegance, audacity and tenacity.
British designer, Louise Trotter, becomes Lacoste Creative Director. With her talent for defining elegant silhouettes, Louise takes over the Lacoste Collections and gives them a new lease of life with her visionary approach on lines and materials.
Young tennis prodigy, Daniil Medvedev, is named a Lacoste brand ambassador. Recognised as an amazing tactician, Daniil has crafted a unique and puzzling style of gameplay. The Russian will become one of the special crocodiles in the Lacoste history.
In early 2018, Novac Djokovic debuted as the new face of Lacoste under the slogan “The New Crocodile.” And, in October 2018, Lacoste appointed Louise Trotter, the first female creative director in the firm’s history.
As part of a new focus on “street style,” Lacoste has increasingly been launching collaboration with other fashion houses such as Concepts and Mastermind JAPAN and numerous rappers.