The Lacoste Story
René LACOSTE entered the legend of tennis when he and his team-mates “The Musketeers”, stole the DAVIS CUP away from the Americans for the
first time, in 1927 and again in 1928. Not forgetting his 3 French Open victories (1925, 1927 and at the ROLAND-GARROS stadium in 1929), his
two victories in Great Britain (WIMBLEDON 1925 and 1928) and two U.S. OPEN titles at Forest Hills (1926 and 1927). René LACOSTE was born in
France on July 2nd 1904 and died on October 12th 1996.
The true story of the “Alligator” dates back to 1927. René LACOSTE liked to recount how this nickname ultimately became an emblem of worldwide renown.
"I was nicknamed "the Alligator" by the American press, after I made a bet with the Captain of the French DAVIS CUP Team concerning a suitcase made from alligator skin. He promised to buy it for me if I won a very important match for our team. The public must have been fond of this nickname which conveyed the tenacity I displayed on the tennis courts, never letting go of my prey!” said René LACOSTE.
One of the most attentive spectators at these DAVIS CUP matches was none other than Simone THION de la CHAUME, the winner of the golf Ladies’ British Tournament, who was later to marry René LACOSTE.
In 1933, René LACOSTE and André GILLIER, the owner and chairman of France’s largest knitwear manufacturing firm at the time, set up a company to make the logoembroidered shirt designed by the champion for his own use on the tennis court. Also marketed were a number of other tennis, golf and sailing shirts, as can be seen in the first catalogue from 1933. To the best of our knowledge, this was the first time that a brand name appeared on the outside of an article of clothing - an idea which has since become extremely successful.
This shirt immediately revolutionised mens sportswear, replacing the classical woven fabric, long-sleeved and starched shirts which players had worn on the courts until then. The first LACOSTE shirt was white, slightly shorter than other shirts of the day, with a ribbed collar and short sleeves, and it was made of a light knitted fabric called “Jersey petit piqué”. The qualities of comfort and solidity upon which it built its name still shine through today, providing a different and truly unique product.