Lacoste S.A. is a French company, founded in 1933 by tennis player René Lacoste, and entrepreneur André Gillier. It sells clothing, footwear, sportswear, eyewear, leather goods, perfume, towels and watches. The company can be recognised by its green alligator logo. René Lacoste, the company’s founder, was first given the nickname “the Alligator” by the American press after he bet his team captain an alligator-skin suitcase that he would win his match. He was later redubbed “the Crocodile” by French fans because of his tenacity on the tennis court. In November 2012, Lacoste was bought outright by Swiss family-held group Maus Frères
History of Lacoste S.A.
René Lacoste founded La Chemise Lacoste in 1933 with André Gillier, the owner and president of the largest French knitwear manufacturing firm at the time. They began to produce the revolutionary tennis shirt Lacoste had designed and worn on the tennis courts with the crocodile logo embroidered on the chest. The company claims this as the first example of a brand name appearing on the outside of an article of clothing. Starting in the 1950s, Izod produced clothing known as Izod Lacoste under license for sale in the U.S. This partnership ended in 1993 when Lacoste regained exclusive U.S. rights to distribute shirts under its own brand. In 1977, Le Tigre Clothing was founded in an attempt to directly compete with Lacoste in the US market, selling a similar array of clothing, but featuring a tiger in place of the signature Lacoste crocodile.
More recently, Lacoste’s popularity has surged due to French designer Christophe Lemaire’s work to create a more modern, upscale look. In 2005, almost 50 million Lacoste products were sold in over 110 countries. Its visibility has increased due to the contracts between Lacoste and several tennis players, including former American tennis players Andy Roddick and John Isner, French veteran Richard Gasquet, and Swiss Olympic gold medalist Stanislas Wawrinka. Lacoste had also begun to increase its presence in the golf world, where noted two-time Masters Tournament champion José María Olazábal and Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie have been seen sporting Lacoste shirts in tournaments.
Bernard Lacoste became seriously ill in early 2005, which led him to transfer the presidency of Lacoste to his younger brother and closest collaborator for many years, Michel Lacoste. Bernard died in Paris on 21 March 2006.
Lacoste licenses its trademark to various companies. Until recently, Devanlay owned the exclusive worldwide clothing license, though today Lacoste Polo Shirts are also manufactured under licence in Thailand by ICC and also in China. Pentland Group has the exclusive worldwide license to produce Lacoste footwear, Coty Inc. owns the exclusive worldwide license to produce fragrance, and CEMALAC holds the license to produce Lacoste bags and small leather goods.
In June 2007, Lacoste introduced their e-commerce site for the U.S. market. In 2009, Hayden Christensen became the face of the Challenge fragrance for men. In September 2010, Christophe Lemaire stepped down and Felipe Oliveira Baptista succeeded him as the creative manager of Lacoste.
René Lacoste Foundation is a community program developed to help children be able to play sports in school. In March 2016, the company opened a new flagship store on Fashion Street in Budapest.
In 2017, tennis player Novak Djokovic was named brand ambassador and “the new crocodile” (next to Rene Lacoste) for Lacoste. This obligation includes a five-year contract as well as multiple appearances in advertising campaigns, and was extended by three years.
In September 2019, Lacoste appointed Chinese singer/actor Z.Tao as their brand spokesperson for Asia Pacific as the brand’s first attempt at appointing someone for the region. In 2017, 2018, and 2019, Lacoste collaborated with Supreme to release a collection of co-branded clothing.
In 2018, Louise Trotter was appointed creative director of Lacoste. In January 2023, she left her position after a four-year tenure.
In late 2022, Lacoste signed a 15-year worldwide licensing agreement with Interparfums and plans to launch a new perfume line in 2024, after wrapping up its previous relationship with Coty Inc
In the early 1950s, Bernard Lacoste teamed up with David Crystal, who at the time owned Izod, to produce Izod Lacoste clothing. In the 1970s and 1980s, it was extremely popular with teenagers who called the shirts simply Izod. While the union was both profitable and popular, Izod Lacoste’s parent company (Crystal Brands, Inc.) was saddled with debt from other business ventures. When attempts to separate Izod and Lacoste to create revenue did not alleviate the debt, Crystal sold his half of Lacoste back to the French and Izod was sold to Van Heusen.
However, starting in 2000, with the hiring of a new fashion designer Christophe Lemaire, Lacoste began to take over control of its brand name and logo, reining in their branding arrangements. Currently, Lacoste has once again returned to the elite status it held before a brand management crisis circa 1990.
Lacoste was involved in a long-standing dispute over its logo with Hong Kong-based sportswear company Crocodile Garments. At the time, Lacoste used a crocodile logo that faced right (registered in France in 1933) while Crocodile used one that faced left (registered in various Asian countries in the 1940s and 1950s). Lacoste tried to block an application from Crocodile to register its logo in China during the 1990s, and the dispute ended in a settlement. As part of the agreement, Crocodile agreed to change its logo, which now sports scalier skin, bigger eyes and a tail that rises vertically
In June 2007, Lacoste introduced their very first e-commerce site for the U.S. market.
In September 2010, Christophe Lemaire stepped down and Felipe Oliveira Baptista succeeded him as the creative manager of Lacoste.
Hayden Christensen is the face of the Challenge fragrance for men.”
*Information from Wikipedia.org
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