René Lacoste, a prominent French figure in the world of tennis during the 1920s who won 7 Grand Slams Singles as well as the title of number 1 World Player in 1926 and 1927, was nicknamed the “Crocodile” by opponents who feared him for his tenacity, agility and shot power. Lacoste took the nickname with pride, and when he showed up on the tennis court going against the grain by wearing a three-buttoned shirt made out of breathable fabric and with the sleeves cut off, as opposed to the commonly worn long-sleeved button-down shirt and tie, the crocodile symbol was with him, embroidered on the left side of his revolutionary shirt.
A simple anecdotal tale about a tennis player with a catchy nickname who was battling the heat of the summer became one of the most iconic pieces in fashion today: the Lacoste Polo. Indeed, by the time Lacoste retired from his tennis career in the 30s, he was approached by André Gillier, who at the time owned a knitwear manufacturing company, and together the two founded La Chemise Lacoste in 1933, the brand which we now know as Lacoste.
Since its very first appearance on the tennis court, the Polo has been a desirable piece of clothing, not only for its practicality, offering a more hot-weather appropriate option, but also for its classic, timeless style. The Lacoste Polo has taken on a life of its own, becoming a staple piece of clothing, and has grown into different iterations. For each sport and each lifestyle, Lacoste creates a variety of Polos specifically tailored to the needs of each athlete or regular everyday person. With an emphasis on 5 different Polos, Lacoste continues to challenge itself to create the highest-performing, functional and comfortable shirts, now celebrating its 90th anniversary.
This year, the Polo has seen a revival in Gen Z’s eyes. From new styles to improved materials and innovations ensuring practicality and the freedom of movement, the Polo continues to be a cult-favourite with its youthful makeover. While the Polo remains a classic, timeless item, Lacoste has managed to tap into the maximalist trend through its bold prints made up of its name logo with its Movement Polo. Playing around with two-tone colours, the Movement Polo can be found in a red-and-pink and dark-and-light blue iterations among others.
Gen Z is known for its disjointed use of colours, an idea that was brought to life in Lacoste’s Tennis Polo. The aesthetic is explored through versions of the shirt where the sleeves are a contrasting colour to the body of the shirt, such as red and blue. The Tennis Polo is also seen using colour more subtly, with minimal coloured lining, bringing style into sportswear.
Just like in the Movement Polo, the logomania trend is carried into the Golf Polo. This is evident in its Crocodile emblazoned shirts, where the reptile can be seen replicated all over the garment. Though for those who prefer a subtle take on the trend, the Golf Polo is also offered with a subtle placement of the Crocodile on its collar, both pieces reimagining its logo use.
Another big current trend that has been pushed forward by Gen Z is a more casual approach to dressing, notably with the rise of streetwear across the board in fashion. The Smart Paris Polo embodies this look, taking the shirt out of its regular context to include it into the day-to-day life of its wearer. Inspired by smart tailoring, this shirt gives an entry point to dressing up, while also offering more playful Petit Piqué designs, with light green main colour and contrasting darker green hue on the collar.
Whether it be styled with sneakers or suit shoes, the L.12.12 Polo has become one of Lacoste’s most popular, considering it is based on René Lacoste’s original shirt. The shirt has a customizable feature, making it unique to its wearer in a time where personal choice of design has become more important than ever. Allowing its wearer to fully express themselves, the L.12.12 Polo comes in an array of Gen Z approved colours, from a peachy orange to a sky blue.
While always striving towards innovative designs, through sustainable materials or breathable technology, Lacoste’s reinvention and new designs of its classic Polo has transcended time and kept up with the trends. Now more than ever, the Polo has become a go-to pick when assembling a fit.
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