French tennis star René Lacoste began manufacturing the white Polo shirt he wore in matches in 1933, embed with the iconic reptile in honor of his nickname Le Crocodile. Today, those polo shirts are not only still widely worn, but are the iconic product of the Lacoste brand, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.
To mark the celebration, Lacoste tasked British designer Peter Saville, known for designing iconic album covers for bands such as Joy Division and New Order, to create an anniversary logo.
Saville commented that the project was very interesting because it was about framing time:
Over 80 years, Lacoste has meant so many things for so many people. I was aware from the beginning that this mark would have to be open to many different readings.
Saville turned to the core of the brand and its origins, designing a logo that represented the number 80made out of tennis balls, that provided the frame for visualizing Lacoste’s past and present. As put by the designer, the mark is playful and fluent, celebrating heritage and allowing for the unexpected.
The brand has also released an 80th anniversary collection, with t-shirts, eye-wear, polo shirts and dresses among other products, all featuring the iconic logo as well as the anniversary logo. Lacoste creative director Felipe Oliveira Baptista commented about the anniversary collection:
I didn’t want it to be too backward looking, I wanted to make the brand for right now. [In general] We are trying to stay very true to what the brand is about, to create something new yet coherent.
For the collection, Baptista has combined vintage roots with contemporary chic, using Lacoste’s history as a starting point and later adding modern and urban touches, thus going forward yet remaining loyal to the brand’s heritage.
But the main aspect worth celebrating is probably the iconic Polo shirt; It’s history and journey from its 1933 original to today can be seen in the adorable video below, depicting 80 years of creativity, colors and elegance. Baptista added that for Lacoste, the polo shirt is the equivalent of the tweed jacket at Chanel or the Burberry trench:
It is the icon of the brand, so we have to reinvent it continually, so we can say to the world, again and again, that we created this garment and we still own it.
Combining the anniversary logo and the phenomenon of limited edition products, Lacoste released 12 DIY Polo shirt kits, available for purchase via Facebook. The customization kit for making your vary own original Polo shirt ranges from painting, sewing, spray-painting, foiling, and more. The first kit was released on 30th January and every month, for the next 12 months, there will be a new one available for purchase.
Lacoste’s anniversary celebration is a mix of colorful chic and casual elegance, reminding us that even though the core of the brand has changed very little in the past 80 years, it is still following trends, proudly looking forward to the future. This was maybe presented the best through another 80th anniversary campaign that we wrote about in December 2012 – the Polo shirt of the future. To check it out, click here, or for more information about Lacoste’s 80th anniversary, visit the brand’s Facebook page.