© Fouli Elia

Who is
(the real)
René Lacoste?

Tennis legend? Founder of an eponymous brand? Yes, and more. Monsieur René Lacoste: an elegant tennis player who believed in fair play, and a passionate inventor behind a clothing revolution.

© Edwin Levick-FFT

© Pathé Gaumont

Tennis legend - World Number One in 1927

Born in 1904, René Lacoste becomes the world’s number one player in 1927, racking up victory after victory in Grand Slam tournaments. His success is due to his persistence and tenacity - the same qualities that help create his legend.


“Inventor should be on my business cards. I’ve been inventing all my life!”
René Lacoste

Tennis-ball machine

Patent registered at age 24

The polo shirt

He’s also behind the iconic short-sleeved polo

Steel tennis racket

A whole new way to play

Damper to limit racket string vibrations

The continued quest for performance

Golf driver

An elegant innovation

  • 1928
  • 1933
  • 1963
  • 1964
  • 1980s

The crocodile - The story of a symbol

During a trip to Boston with the 1923 Davis Cup team, René Lacoste notices a crocodile suitcase. “If you win, I’ll buy it for you,” jokes his coach Alan Muhr before a match. This anecdote, captured by a nearby journalist from the Boston Evening Transcript, is behind his nickname, “The Alligator”, and quickly becomes the brand emblem.

© Georges Jeanneau / Presse Sport

Team spirit - The secret of his success

“Because of our common objective, we share a real team spirit.” This is the spirit of the musketeers; the legendary 1920s team of which René Lacoste is a key member. Behind the founder stand Simone Lacoste and their daughter Catherine, both golf champions whose successes have never yet been rivalled.

© Lacoste Family Archives

© Popperfoto –Getty

The Lacoste Style - Iconic clothing inspired by sport

The short-sleeved polo? That’s Lacoste! Perpetually seeking relaxed elegance, René Lacoste – tennis legend and constant inventor – creates a truly emblematic wardrobe. The Lacoste spirit is the expression of modern French style, inspired by tennis and golf.

Discover the Lacoste style

Discover also

Key dates

Lacoste heritage yesterday and today

The Lacoste style

Sport-inspired elegance

Sport and Elegance

From the court to the green

The polo savoir-faire

From design to crafting