Lacoste and Novak Djokovic

Do you know the story of the LACOSTE L.12.12 Polo shirt? It is the emblematic garment of the French brand and one which has enjoyed various lives: on tennis courts since the mid 30s, in mosh pits during the Brit Pop era; worn suavely by the likes of Clint Eastwood and Bob Dylan in their heyday; and Jack Nicholson in the 70s, 80s, 90s and the rest – he’s a big fan. René Lacoste was one of the world’s most celebrated players in the 1920s. While it’s hard to quantify his talent and agility today – given the high tech kit that players wear along with the ultra-light rackets they play with – it’s no overstatement to say that Lacoste was a hero of his time: world No1 in 1926 and champion of a total of seven Grand Slams.

Lacoste and Novak Djokovic Lacoste and Novak Djokovic

René Lacoste was nicknamed the Crocodile for the tenacity he displayed on the court, which gave him an idea – one which would eventually help him to build his fortune. Monsieur Lacoste had a crocodile embroidered on the front pocket of a blazer that he wore to matches, which eventually became the emblem of his business. His brand was, however, born of frustration: he longed for a loose t-shirt that would keep him cool whilst allowing greater freedom of movement during a game. The result was the famed LACOSTE L.12.12 polo shirt, made from an entirely new weave called piqué cotton which was both breathable and lightweight . For those who are wondering about the cryptic digits in the name, they hold significance too.

L Stands for Lacoste

1 because it’s totally unique

2 was the factory code to say short sleeved

12 for the winning prototype chosen by René Lacoste

Lacoste and Novak Djokovic

Today, the Lacoste polo is still engineered with sport in mind, and specifically tennis. For this reason, the label has announced tennis ‘warrior’ Novak Djokovic as its new ambassador. The 12-time Grand Slam champion is the face and inspiration behind a new eponymous clothing line which the player will wear during all the Grand Slam tournaments as well as the other games of the season. Every detail of the collection is geared towards comfort: ergonomic stitching prevents chaffing while the cuts bring about ease of movement. Novak Djokovic’s signature is printed on the left sleeve of the polo shirt whose graphics are inspired by the lines of a tennis court.

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The French Sporting Spirit Collection by Lacoste

He debuted the first piece from the LACOSTE collection at the start of the French Open a couple of days ago. To compliment the range, LACOSTE has released a film which imagines a exchange between the two champions, René Lacoste and Novak Djokovic. A print campaign, which combines black & white imagery with colour, homes in on the heritage of the label. It was shot by photographer Jacob Sutton who has previously created advertising commissions for Hermes, Nike and Chanel beauty. AZ