Illustrations Jean-Paul Goude for LACOSTE
A 1920s French tennis star put the little reptilian logo onto a white polo shirt, thus revolutionising the fashion logo concept. Today, aged over 80 years, we see the famous crocodile unicycle into people’s hearts once again.
Don’t call it a comeback. Actually, on second thought, do. Lacoste has risen out of the depths of overexposure of the 20th century and fleeting fads of the new millennium to hold court yet again. Just in time for its annual ‘Holiday Collector’ edition, Creative Director Felipe Oliveira Baptista has tapped one of today’s most respected names in the industry to offer Lacoste’s logo a makeover for the ages.
The quirky and unique logo transformation is thanks to none other than illustrator, graphic designer and photographic extraordinaire, Jean-Paul Goude. The 75-year-old is a living legend who tirelessly produces one memorable artistic work after another, famously shaping Grace Jones’s image, helming Kim Kardashian’s infamous ‘Break The Internet’ cover for Paper magazine, and creating unbelievable advertising campaigns for Chanel, Perrier and the Galeries Lafayette department stores. This fall, he puts his own whimsical spin on the beloved crocodile, applying two different versions onto jackets, bags, wallets and Lacoste’s signature polos, managing to resurrect a sportswear brand to new sartorial heights.
“It was an invitation, a real carte blanche”, said Oliveira Baptista about handing the artist complete windows of freedom: “My role was to choose someone I admire, whose work I find interesting, and whom I could help express his vision. It was Jean-Paul who was to express his vision, to make decisions, and give his interpretation of the crocodile.“ Jean-Paul Goude is a true champion of creativity, as he forges emotional connections, liberates dreams and engages people in the art of photography and graphic design with stories and experiences that go beyond the surface of the subject itself.
Case-in-point, the French designer envisioned two parading saurians entangled in an African courting dance: “In the film ‘The Merry Widow’, there’s a scene with 50 dancers. I wanted to recreate that.” With no precise instructions or commissions, Goude infuses a tongue-in-cheek feel into the logo, creating a hybrid between a crocodile and a dragon, dressed up in folded origami paper and a triangle dunce hat, while riding a vintage unicycle: “We would craft them in paper, very simply. It would have to look effortless. That is real elegance!” Not only did he redesign the emblematic logo by repurposing the ‘ballet of crocodiles’, but he also had his hand in recreating the packaging and ad campaign for the collection as well.
Product-wise, the ‘Holiday Collector’ sees the reinterpretation of Lacoste essentials by including different pieces of their basics. Those are long and short-sleeved polo shirts in white, navy, heather grey, green and red, as well as a short-sleeved polo for kids, in heather grey and navy. Customers will also be offered limited editions of a jersey cotton bomber in navy or red, and also two black bags – a tote bag and a clutch bag from the Chantaco line. Naturally, the cheeky Jean-Paul Goude designed logo will be embroidered on all the limited edition items.
The entire ‘Holiday Collector’ capsule collection will be
available at the Lacoste stores worldwide in November 2016.