At the dawn of World War II, René Lacoste and his wife, Simone Thion de la Chaume, developed a wide-ranging tree development project for the golf course of Chantaco in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, around the family grounds.
At that time, a number of locals were spared from mandatory work in Germany thanks to the Lacoste family, who employed them to plant trees on the family golf course, as the law protected forestry workers from conscription.
This is how 50 000 trees, covering almost 125 acres, were planted during the war, many varieties of pine trees (Maritime, Scotch, Weymouth, Austrian and Umbrella pines), as well as red oak trees, while the workers, themselves, were kept safe. As for the Golf de Chantaco, it is the most tree-lined in France.
This is the starting point for our collection this season: a tale of empathy, of kindness and of hope. Its universal reach touched me, and I wanted to transmit it by immersing you as much as possible in Chantaco, the backdrop to this lesser known part of Lacoste history.
We hold the story in our hands, while it takes place before your eyes: elegant photos of the period showing the Thion de la Chaume-Lacoste family on their land; old archive pieces of golf wear collections of the 80’s and 90’s; the club house; the family home… These are some of the reminders of the past that inspired the imagination of our creative team.
We wanted to go back to the essential values, find meaning and refuge in nature: notions of mobility, protection, comfort and hybridity became natural guidelines. Those were translated into streamlined functional clothing, aiming for a sense of timelessness suited to tomorrow’s needs.
For the Lacoste 85th anniversary, I decided to unveil a lesser known side of the brand’s heritage: the Golf de Chantaco, its surroundings, as well as Simone Thion de la Chaume, René’s wife; two champions side by side.
The latest collaboration of the house is presented here, and available as of today on Lacoste.com. We are launching a partnership with the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), and creating 10 new polo shirts, where our beloved crocodile will exceptionally make room for 10 threatened species.
This collaboration is especially important to me, due to the extreme urgency and seriousness of its character. Ten looks of the show are dedicated to these ten species.
This is our way of planting trees in 2018.
Felipe Oliveira Baptista
A TENNIS MATCH ON THE ROOFTOP OF THE VILLA MALAPARTE – Felipe Oliveira Baptista has found the most gentle response to the aggressiveness of our times. Impressed by the ocher and white hues of the modernist Villa Malaparte in Capri, he dreamed up a tennis match on its rooftop. Chiseled by swimming and sunbathing sessions, sexy and tanned bodies hammer balls back and forth, against a backdrop of pine forests, creeks, and rocky inlets. The Spring-Summer 2017 LACOSTE collection freely redefines the notions of comfort, elegance and sensuality.
THE SENSUALITY OF TERRYCLOTH - The bathrobes and wrapped towels Brigitte Bardot dons in Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt, which was partly shot at the Villa Malaparte, inspired a wide range of hooded or shawl-collared bathrobes, along with terrycloth bustier dresses that are belted high on the waist with matching improvised strings, the better to highlight the effortlessly silhouette. A faux-denim jacket and reversible terry Bermuda shorts become real security blankets. They are worn with shoes one can easily slip into: clogs with high wooden soles recalling the sharpness of 1950’s Brazilian furniture, or platform sneakers devoid of strings or loopholes.
THE COMFORT OF FLEECE AND MESH – In this haven of languor and sensuality, clothes are parti- cularly user-friendly and functional. Among them are chic tracksuits and loose fleece sweatshirts with sleeves that vanish thanks to a simple set of studs, and whose sides can be unzipped, allowing a breeze to brush the skin. A reflection of the designer’s obsessions, the clothes are modular, reversible, or with retractable sleeves, and a «petit piqué» embossed PVC tote bag boasts a cotton strap that can be hand-held or carried over the shoulder. Inspired by women’s tennis skirts, short tunics in feather light mesh sport gussets or delicate wide pleats. Tucked into the front pocket of a small navy and white «petit piqué» embossed matte leather bag, the racket is close at hand. The fisherman jackets and slickers recall seaside family houses. Bleached by the sun and stiffened by sea spray salt, they have an unmistakable holiday flavour.
CLASSIC VOCABULARY AND NEW ATTITUDES – Summer also offers the opportunity to reinterpret items that are imbued with memories and marked by a timeless elegance. Cut in technical navy blue cotton and worn over a white tracksuit, trench coats have a new found aerodynamic purity. Long tank dresses in cotton piqué can be worn with or without belts, and sport either 1970’s-style stripes, or larger versions that recall 1990’s skaters. The very demure BB-shirtdress is reinvented in a seamless but entirely heat-sealed «techno Brigitte» version, cut in transparent red vinyl. Rumpled and casual cropped pantsuits in ultra-light seersucker are adorned with an unexpected Prince of Wales check, while other outfits have the formality of a couture suit, especially when the lining of a coat matches the fabric of the pair of pants and shirt worn underneath. Felipe Oliveira Baptista revisits the art of tailoring, the better to break its rules and redefine French chic.
CROCODILES IN THE WILD AND ARTY STRIPES – LACOSTE’s animal mascot appears on new gene- ration tropical prints. Enlarged crocodile graffiti are covered with childish scribbles, halftone flat tints painted à la Andy Warhol, and free-spirited brushstrokes, like those Le Corbusier did for the fresco of the Swiss Pavilion of the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris. Inspired by the Berlin installation of the American contemporary artist Richard Jackson – a maze of 5050 horizontally stacked paintings creating the effect of white slices dripping with pure colors -, Felipe Oliveira Baptista reinvents the iconic pattern of the sailor top. Unapologetic in its simplicity and utterly free-spirited, LACOSTE’s Spring-Summer 2017 collection lays the foundations of a new state of mind, one that centers around the notion of natural seduction.
From the extraordinary collaboration between Lacoste and the Chinese artist Li Xiaofeng, an original work of art, has been designed to be used as a limited edition polo LACOSTE man / woman 2010.
The artist has used white and blue porcelain fragments with motif of lotus and children, dating from the Ming dynasty. The polos show some classic Chinese wishes of luck and happiness. At the center of the Polo Li has reversed the letters and the logo of Lacoste as a strategy, which according to Chinese tradition brings good luck
Imagine René Lacoste playing tennis at Roland Garros with Li Xiaofeng.
A match between two players, one wearing a white pique polo and the other wearing one with ceramic Ming designs.
What does this visionary match between two people who lived in different historical periods, make you think of?
How will it end?