As Summer sets in I am thinking Lacoste, light polo tagged with crocodiles reminding me of the many hours I spent on dusty and suffocating tennis courts. As much as I enjoy the game, I am still, after all this work, a very bad player. Still, I love the white paraphernalia, the immaculate shoes and socks, the tiny dancing skirts and the polo… Lacoste is definitely a brand linked in my imaginary to the South of France, to red clay courts, unquenchable thirst and real burst of frustration. ( Can I just KILL that girl on the other side of the court who serves like a pro! and has legs to die for?). It was a real pleasure to discover Assouline’s photographic essay on the brand (Lacoste 2009 Assouline publishing), intertwining images from the past and of today. It is meant to be the brand alphabet.
At E for Elegance coexist tennis player Evelyn Lucy Colyer (1920) – well -, ready to kill, and the girl-with-the-legs-to-die-for wearing a Lacoste item from the spring/summer 2010 collection designed by Christophe Lemaire. She could easily convince you to try one more time aiming at that yellow ball. Not in the net please!
Lacoste is a very exceptional brand able to surf on internal and external crisis that may occur maintaining that balance between past and present. Creative director Christophe Lemaire has been instrumental in doing precisely that. Now Lacoste with new governing heads – Christophe Chenut , Directeur General since 2008, and Jose Luis Duran ex-Carrefour, recently appointed at the sister manufacturing company Devanlay, is certainly looking towards the future. “We are changing the store concept with larger stores that will present all of Lacoste world . We will create compelling spaces where our clients will want to stay longer and really experience Lacoste. Lacoste stores will become a destination”, says designer Christophe Pillet who is in charge of Lacoste branding. Three flagships will show this new concept, New York’s Fifth avenue scheduled to reopen in September, Paris’s Champs Elysees soon to reopen and the Shangai new flagshipstore.
Less design, more products; natural materials like wood and textiles; a large palette of colors… these are some of new codes for Lacoste stores. “Lighting will be very advanced creating ephemeral spaces”, says Christophe Pillet who also oversees the Lab, an experimental design bureau where Lacoste tries “new products” from bicycles to motobikes.You will see some of these prototypes in the stores.
Next month, Lacoste will open its first Red store dedicated to the 15-25 in Soho. Obviously Lacoste has decided to explore new territories, catering to young people. In The Crocodile’s words published at the end of Assouline’s book, red stand for “the national flag to the houses of The Basque region, red expresses freedom and vitality.” The lacoste family comes from the Basque country.
Still Lacoste is struggling to attract women. Today Lacoste clients are mostly men (78%) . ” One of the goals of Lacoste is to seduce women. The stores will appeal to them. Attracting women must also imply richer stylistic propositions for them . Christophe Lemaire has already started the process. We will see in September during fashion week when Lacoste is showing on the runway what’s cooking under the blazing sun.