(1933 – 2023)

Lacoste celebrates its 90th anniversary. The brand originated on the tennis court 90 years ago and has grown into one of the largest brands in sportswear and streetwear. The crocodile celebrates its anniversary with unprecedented energy – living in the present and acknowledging the people who are the beating heart of the label worldwide.


The original crocodile, René Lacoste, imbued his brand with the following core values: French elegance, freedom of movement, savoir-faire, creativity, and reinvention – values that easily transcended each new decade.

Initially beloved by athletes, but inspired by the elegance of René’s sporty family and charismatic friends, the crocodile began to spread throughout France, across tennis and golf courts, then beyond the sports fields and even across national borders. And with each new corner of the world that Lacoste touched, a unique cultural cross-pollination occurred. As a result, the label not only had a significant influence on street culture but was also influenced by it, appearing on the catwalk at fashion shows, forming collaborations with musicians, artists, and designers, finding its way into the vintage retro scene, and being embraced by pop culture.

Today, the iconic crocodile is a powerful, recognizable logo for many – representing a living heritage that is connected to the community and always in motion.

No one could have anticipated the impact the brand would have on fashion and cultures that are so diverse and widespread. And, more importantly, the impact these communities would have on the brand. The Lacoste communities continue to infuse the brand with their exuberant character by reflecting on the brand’s values and redefining them. They help the crocodile move with the times.


“Inventor: If I had to put a profession on my business card, that’s what I would put.”

René Lacoste, 1964

He is the founder of Lacoste, an international tennis champion, and a brilliant inventor: René Lacoste. He was born in Paris in 1904 and was immersed in sports from a young age, encouraged by his father, a lover of rowing.

But René’s passion was tennis. He excelled at it and won his first tournament at the age of 17 in 1921. He caught the attention of tennis champion Suzanne Lenglen, who became both a close friend and his mentor on the tennis court, teaching him to move naturally and with extraordinary power.

In 1926, inspired by polo players in London, René appeared on the tennis court wearing a short-sleeved shirt, giving him even more freedom of movement: the concept of functional elegance was born. In 1933, he met industrialist André Gillier. Together, they conceived the LACOSTE L.12.12 polo shirt, a groundbreaking design. The L stood for LACOSTE, 1 for the unique fabric: cotton petit-piqué, 2 for the short-sleeved version, and 12 for the number of the version René Lacoste ultimately chose. Thanks to the use of a new breathable fabric, cotton petit-piqué, the shirt was supple and lightweight. Additionally, it featured an image of a crocodile. Against the advice of his friends, René decided to have his famous crocodile embroidered on it: the first Lacoste polo shirt was born.

René’s creative mind also led to several important inventions unrelated to fashion. In 1928, he came up with a ball machine to improve his technique. The machine trained many generations of tennis players. Then, in 1963, he revolutionized the tennis world with the invention of the steel tennis racket. This invention provided superior aerodynamics and paved the way for the modern tennis racket. Finally, in 1971, he invented the dampener, a new vibration dampener in the handle of the tennis racket.


It was the year 1923, in Boston, United States. Prior to a tennis match, René Lacoste spotted a beautiful crocodile leather suitcase in a shop window. His coach promised to give it to him if he won the match. René lost. A journalist who heard this story and also thought that René played with the tenacity of a crocodile decided to give him the nickname “the Crocodile.”

In 1926, inspired by his own nickname, René Lacoste asked his friend Robert George to design a crocodile and subsequently had the now famous logo embroidered on one of his blazers: a legend was born.


René’s close-knit group of family and charismatic friends formed Lacoste’s first community. His wife Simone Thion de La Chaume, an international golf champion, shared René’s passion for sports and passed it on to their daughter Catherine, who became one of the greatest golf champions of the 1960s and 1970s.

In Chantaco, the golf club founded by Simone’s father, the Lacoste family supported young players and encouraged them to pursue their dream of becoming champions, regardless of their background and social class. Lacoste remains true to these values to this day and through programs such as Durable Elegance and Foundation Lacoste, the brand supports the creation of equal opportunities for young people in an active way through the power of sports.


Between discipline and a cool look, freedom and elegance, precision and expression, Lacoste represents sportswear and French savoir-faire. Proudly made in France, where Lacoste’s unique weaving and knitting techniques were developed, the brand continues to refine and innovate its sourcing and manufacturing processes with a view to a more sustainable future for both people and the planet.

Lacoste has reshaped the contemporary fashion landscape through the vision of iconic artistic directors such as Christophe Lemaire, Felipe Oliveira Baptista, and Louise Trotter. Currently, the creative direction is in the hands of Pelagia Kolotouros, who oversees the Creative Studio and prepares Lacoste for the next chapter in its history.