The polo: secrets of a legend

René Lacoste invents the iconic polo by cutting the sleeves off a shirt. Discover the savoir-faire in every stitch of this sporting wardrobe essential.

The polo revolution

“Above all, elegance requires clothes that are adapted to the situation or circumstances.” As good as his word, René Lacoste cuts off the sleeves of a long-sleeved shirt, which he feels is hardly appropriate for the game of tennis. Revolution. The year is 1933. The polo is born; the Lacoste style defined.

Why L.12.12 ?


The art of manufacturing

Even though, since 1933, the style of the polo has shifted with the fashion, its manufacturing methods have not. Troyes, French knitwear capital, is where the unique polo savoir faire is born, today being exported around the world. Knitting, dyeing, cutting, attaching the embroidered crocodile and assembling the pieces: these five steps, requiring expertise and an excellent eye for detail, give the polo its inimitable style.


Selected for its exceptional quality, the cotton yarn is knitted on a circular machine using a unique technique, which gives the celebrated petit piqué its singular durability and flexibility.

The crocodile signature

Whether machine-sewn, or hand-embroidered, the number of stitches required for each crocodile is around 1600. A testament to the authenticity of each polo shirt.


Each piece is sewn together by hand, bringing the polo to life. Braiding is sewn onto the shoulder and collar in order to finish the garment and reinforce its structure.

Petit piqué, style and performance

Made of fine mesh, petit piqué is the emblematic fabric of the Lacoste polo. A revolutionary knit designed by René Lacoste gives the polo its signature comfort and elegance.

Polo in fashion

Season after season, the legend reasserts itself. As does its style. The iconic polo is regularly revisited through the seasons, or recreated by artists and designers in inspired collaborations.

The first polo of many

Timeless in blue and white stripes

Graphic details: the polo in red

Bold lines define the terrain

The croc as seen by Michael Young

Polo by Visionaire : wearable art

Lacoste x Campana brothers: Brazilian inspiration

The polo bears the flag

Lacoste x Lesage: an original couture polo

Jean-Paul Goude’s take on the iconic croc

Save our species

The indispensable polo

The classic fit polo, a model icon

Thanks to its unique style, comfort and relaxed elegance, the L.12.12 polo quickly becomes a style icon of both classic and contemporary wardrobes. Which one is your favourite?

Shop the polos

Discover more

René Lacoste

Who is (really) The Crocodile?

Key dates

Lacoste heritage yesterday and today

The Lacoste style

Sport-inspired elegance

Sport and Elegance

From the court to the green