Boston, 1923. Young tennis prodigy René Lacoste is 19 and likes a challenge. His team captain promises him the crocodile leather suitcase the player admired in a store window if he wins his upcoming match. René doesn’t win but he had the determination of the crocodile on court, which is why an American journalist gave him this nickname.
Before Lacoste, tennis meant long-sleeve shirts, pleated trousers and belted waists. René Lacoste put comfort front and centre; early on he understood the need for clothing adapted to the task. Defying conventions, he shortened the sleeves of a typical tennis shirt to create the first comfortable polo. For the first time designs were embroidered with a signature crocodile, making them instantly recognisable. Designer Robert George penned the crocodile for Lacoste, and an early fan of customisation, René Lacoste immediately has it embroidered on his blazers. A few years later, the polo sees the light of day. The crocodile over the heart makes Lacoste the first brand to display a visible logo on an article of clothing. Soon, René Lacoste was dressing friends and family in the polo shirt during international matches. Well ahead of his time, he designed the modern wardrobe: light, adaptable and highly desirable. The Lacoste fundamentals were firmly established.