THE CROCODILE CELEBRATES ITS 90TH BIRTHDAY
MOVING WITH THE WORLD FOR 90 YEARS
Lacoste kicks off its 90th anniversary. 90 years of the iconic Crocodile. 90 years defining French fashion sport. 90 years of movement born on the court, growing from sport to street.
But this is not just another retrospective. The Crocodile marks its birthday with unique energy — living the present and celebrating the people moving the brand’s heartbeat across the globe today.
Founded by the original Crocodile, René Lacoste, the brand’s values of French elegance, movement, savoir-faire, creativity and reinvention have transitioned seamlessly throughout every decade.
First loved by sports players, inspired by the free elegance of René’s own pro sporting family and charismatic friends, the Crocodile spread through France, across tennis and golfing terrains, beyond court and field, line and border. And with every new corner of the world Lacoste touched, a unique cultural cross-pollination occurred, deeply influencing and being influenced by street culture, popping on to fashion’s runways, collaborating with musicians, artists and creators, tracing its way through the vintage retro scene, and being inscribed into pop culture.
The Crocodile is now a powerful identifying emblem for many — representing a living, connected heritage that never stops moving.
Nobody could have imagined the impact the brand would have on fashions and cultures so widely and diversely spread. And importantly, the impact these communities would have on the brand. Lacoste’s communities continue to infuse the brand with this ebullient spirit, inventing and reinventing what the brand codes mean to them. They help move the Crocodile.
This year, Lacoste travels the world to celebrate eight of these compelling contemporary subcultures. Shaping the brand through their passion, individuality, and style, together they are the heart of Lacoste’s 90th anniversary celebrations. Here are the Lacoste communities the world will meet this year:
→ Lacosteiros. São Paulo, Brazil.
“We go to each funk street party dressed differently. No one wants to wear the same things, so we exchange them between us, to mix things up a bit.” (Extract from interview with Lacosteiros member).
Making remarkably colorful waves at São Paulo’s famed Bailes Funk (funk street parties) are the self-named, proudly Lacoste-addicted “Lacosteiros”. Living, dancing and dreaming Lacoste, they are honored to claim their role as the most active, passionate of the brand-based communities that inspire vibrant Brazilian fashion street culture. They are as much about creative individuality as supportive community; swapping pieces, twisting styles and sharing their love for the brand across generations with generosity. Their signature pieces include the Lacoste golf umbrella which comes to life at the heart of funk dance, multiple pairs of colored sunglasses stacked on up the forehead, and maximalist jewelry.
→ Vintage fashion collectors. Tokyo, Japan.
“The emotion I have when I encounter vintage items... What is it? Love at first sight? I think the green cardigan is the most special of them all.” (Extract from interview with Tokyo vintage Lacoste collector).
Deeply committed to learning the stories behind each of their fashion pieces, the Tokyo vintage collectors are resolutely patient; they’ll spend years hunting for the perfect piece. And if they cherish Lacoste, it is because the brand honors history, French savoir faire and cultural impact. From the streets of Shimokitazawa to Harajuku, vintage-collecting Tokyoites find their inspiration in clashing influences from old French cinema to American varsity to Japanese anime.
→ French rap lovers. Paris & its suburbs, France.
“An outfit someone would typically wear for golf, we wear on the streets in the suburbs. We claim those codes of luxury, and we know we wear them well.” (Extract from interview with rap lover from Paris Banlieu).
They’re the originators of Lacoste’s strong link with street culture, born in the Parisian suburbs in the early 90s French rap scene. Reinterpreting and reappropriating “bourgeois” tennis and sportswear codes, their style inspires communities across the globe, especially within the USA, cross-pollinating rap lover style. You’ll see them sporting iconic Lacoste tracksuits and girolles.
→ Amateur tennis players. New York City, USA.
“New York tennis style is very eclectic. It reflects the incredible diversity of this chaotic city.” (Extract from interview with New York amateur tennis player).
New Yorkers. Their inimitable diversity, their fearless energy, their world-renowned style. In a city so large, the amateur tennis community is deeply connected by sportsmanship, competition, tennis club culture and fashion. From white polos and club-approved knitwear to monochromatic tracksuits and tennis bags, they serve the contemporary with the classic, the sporty with the street and the trendy with the timeless.
→ Vintage Lacoste passionates. Marseille, France.
"Generally, I tend to prefer pieces that look a bit grandpa.” (Extract from interview with Lacoste vintage fashion lover from Marseille).
Passionate about vintage clothing passed down from grandparents or hunted down in local thrift stores, they covet iconic classics stamped with the Crocodile, cult pieces that pay homage to unique periods in the brand’s history, rare, limited editions, and well-worn favorites with deeply sentimental value. This isn’t a subculture of disparate individuals. They are deeply connected with each other, frequenting each other’s vintage stores, swapping their favorite designs, and acknowledging a deep respect for creative style. You’ll see them up and down the sun-blessed Marseille coast, wearing preppy knitwear, vibrantly colorful tracksuits and accessories including iconic Lacoste claquettes (sandals). Their style continues to impact fashion and culture across France and beyond.
→ Amateur golfers. Miami, USA.
“I wear my collar up so the negative energy that comes my way just goes right past me. And of course, so I don’t get burned." (Extract from interview with Miami amateur golfer).
They say it themselves — “people are just friendlier in Miami”. Locals and implants from across the USA, these amateur golfers live for the sun-drenched outdoors. You’ll find them out on the golf-course during every season, chasing the ever-elusive hole-in-one and reveling in the social lifestyle that comes with the challenging game. A reflection of their sunny environment and personalities, they love bright colors & pastels, from their polos to sunglasses, fanny packs and visors.
→ Roland Garros fans. Paris, France.
“To really see the tennis ball under the sun, a pair of sunglasses is indispensable. And on the side of those sunglasses, you’ll always see a flash of the Crocodile.” (Extract from interview with Roland Garros spectator).
Whether French or international, famous, or not so famous, they are the Roland Garros community, fans of a classic tennis tradition, an unmissable event. With their hats and polos, they stand for elegance and sporting spirit, contrasting their timeless spectator fashion against the quintessential red clay. For them, Lacoste is at once a uniform, a symbol of membership to a passionate community. Of all the diverse places across the globe Lacoste finds its home, Roland Garros is the closest to its original tennis roots, and where you’ll likely see the most Crocodile logos in one space at one time. René himself won several grand slams, and in 1971, Lacoste became the official sponsor of Roland Garros.
→ Amateur & pro tennis players. Seoul, South Korea.
“I love the pleated skirt which are extremely light and flowy, so with every active motion, the Crocodile swirls along with me.” (Extract from interview with ex-pro tennis player from Seoul).
In Seoul, tennis is not just a sport. It’s a lifestyle. And it’s fashion. Alone or with friends, with an aggressive or defensive technique, to improve or to surpass oneself, the style speaks volumes and the passion is consuming. For players loyal to Lacoste, it’s because the brand’s elegance matches its function, to elevate their experience of the game. You’ll find them wearing the latest technical fabrics in contemporary colorways, light-as-air pleated skirts, sleeveless polos for maximum range, and mis-matched socks for luck.
With such rich cultural inspiration, Lacoste was poised to create a meaningful, emotion-charged 90th anniversary campaign. But how would the brand spotlight the uniqueness of its communities, as stylistically different as they are geographically distanced? By taking its role as a cross-cultural connector to heart, creating a campaign of “Impossible Encounters”, made possible through the magic of style and cinema.
The campaign bridges pairs of its eight subcultures, each shot in their own meaningful locations and contexts, to highlight both their differences and their unexpected similarities — finding unique symmetry in their favorite meet-up spots, surprising parallels in clothing color palettes and striking contrast between their minimalist/maximalist spirits. Through the power of Lacoste, each duo enters an unexpectedly witty fashion dialogue, when they appear to encounter and make eye contact with each other in a moment of mutual style appreciation. Their two worlds, brought together by split screen, complete each other. A set of unexpected kindred spirits are bonded through Lacoste.
Heliopolis, Saõ Paulo to Shimokitazawa, Tokyo
A group of Lacosteiros from Saõ Paulo chat, chill and dance together. Meanwhile in Tokyo, a group of friends meet up at a street corner in an iconic vintage fashion district. Catching eyes across oceans, both groups stop short to appreciate each other’s style.
Melreese Golf Club, Miami to Mini Golf du Prado, Marseille
An amateur golfer tees off, surrounded by her friends at Melreese Golf Club, Miami. Swing and hit! Through the magic of film, the ball crosses continents, landing a hole in one on a beach putt putt in Marseille, where a group of vintage lovers have fun in the sun. Surprised, the Marseille friends seek the origin of the ball, just as the Miami golfers look around to see where it’s gone. A moment of unexpected, impossible eye contact ensues.
Les Ardoines, Greater Paris to Harlem 125th St Station, New York City
Emerging from a train on to the platform in the Paris Banlieue, two friends styled head-to-toe in white Lacoste tracksuits appear to notice another pair of friends in their Lacoste tennis whites, in New York City. A touch of incredulity and mutual respect as they appear to take in each other’s style.
Séoul, to Roland Garros, Paris
In the audience stands at Roland Garros, a little girl’s hat is caught by the wind, carried across borders and oceans, to land in the middle of a group of stylish girlfriends, chilling after a spirited game of tennis in Seoul. The little girl turns to search for her hat and is captivated by their style.
This campaign continues to build upon the fresh, humorous, pop-cultural editorial language, established through Lacoste’s iconic ad series “Unexpected Encounters”, launched in 2022.
Its authenticity and nuance are in large part thanks to collaboration with local cultural “curators” who ensure the representation of each culture. Curators include Lacosteiros expert, Fernanda Souza (São Paulo), and Street Style Specialist, Motofumi “Poggy” Kogi (Tokyo).
Irish Photographer, Ronan Gallagher’s documentary approach, strong color and fashion sensibility combine to inject colorful pop energy into each still shot. Having shot Lacoste’s iconic 2022 brand campaign, he continues to develop a unique visual language for the ever-evolving brand.
London-based Director and youth culture lover, Yoni Lappin, infuses wit into the short ad films, bringing together scenarized encounters with spontaneous authenticity.
French Digital Director Chris Saulnier’s social-first talents bring unstoppable dynamism to a profoundly anthropological project, bringing together community interviews, behind the scenes moments and playful style explorations.
The campaign is co-imagined by Lacoste and French creative agency BETC.