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Alligators & Crocodiles

Lacoste Logo - In the 1970-80s Lacoste teamed up with IZOD and embroidered the Lacoste right-facing “crocodile” logo on the left breast of a line of polo shirts and jackets that became perhaps the most recognizable apparel logo of the era (wore by many 1980s TV characters).

Lacoste Crocodile Logo

Initially, the Lacoste shirts were introduced in 1933 by André Gillier, the owner and chairman of the largest French hosiery company at that time, who set up a company to mass produce a shirt embroidered with a logo that the tennis champion (René Lacoste-1905-96) had created for his personal use on the tennis courts. The white, short-sleeve polo shirts made exclusively of French cotton pique revolutionized fashion and soon replaced the long-sleeved stiff, starchy Oxford shirts traditionally worn by players up to that time. The crocodile logo itself was born in 1926. As Rene Lacoste recalled:

“The American press nicknamed me 'The Crocodile' ("Le Crocodile" or "l'Alligator" in French) after a bet that I made with the Captain of the French Davis Cup team. He had promised me a crocodile-skin suitcase if I won a match that was important for our team. The American public stuck to this nickname, which highlighted my tenacity on the tennis courts, never giving up my prey! So my friend Robert George drew me a crocodile which was embroidered on the blazer that I wore on the courts.”

An Early Lacosta Logo

The Lacoste Sportswear firm is located in Troyes, France, “in the heart of the Champagne region,” and runs its American business through Lacoste USA. The sportswear line is sold only at such high-end retailers as Saks 5th Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale's.

The Lacoste-IZOD affiliation ended in 1993, but Lacoste re-entered the United State market with its own line — sporting the famous crocodile logo — in 1996.

In 2003, the Idea Work-shop, garnered the exclusive rights to bring the famous French line of Lacoste Sportswear. MKP Distributors also launched Lacoste Pour Homme, an exclusive fragrance for men that was emblazoned with an all-new silver-grey crocodile logo.

TRIVIA NOTE: Rene Lacoste's polo shirts were the first example of sportswear as "fashion." Besides, his trademark crocodile logo, Rene Lacoste, the author of Lacoste on Tennis (1928) also invented the metal tennis racquet in 1963 which soon ended a long tradition of wooden rackets on the tennis courts of the world.

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