The story of the crocodile
How a simple bet in the streets of Boston shaped the history of tennis and fashion
Nicknamed 'The Crocodile' as a result of a bet with his tennis team captain, René Lacoste made this unique animal the iconic logo of his brand. And, the symbol of a new style of sport chic: combining elegance and casual style.
René Lacoste in London, 1925 © Ullstein Bild
A winning bet
As with so many great stories, the story of the crocodile begins with a little anecdote.
Boston, 1923. René Lacoste was strolling through the city's streets with his tennis team's captain, Alan Muhr, before the afternoon's upcoming game. In a store's window display, an elegant crocodile skin suitcase caught his eye. Time for a bet: if René won the match, Alan would buy him the suitcase. As it turned out, René didn't win, but journalist George Carens heard the story and mentioned it in his article in the Boston Evening Transcript: “The young Lacoste has not won his crocodile skin suitcase but he fought like a true crocodile.
After Jean Borotra (The Leaping Basque), Henri Cochet (The Magician) and Jacques Brugnon (Toto), the fourth musketeer had now found his own nickname.
Creating the croc
The crocodile illustration was drawn by Robert George – René Lacoste's friend – who had it embroidered in colour on the pocket of the white blazer he wore before each match.
The crocodile illustration by Robert George © RR
Portrait of René Lacoste wearing his embroidered crocodile on a white blazer ©RR
From the archives: A Lacoste winter
When the temperature goes done, the crocodiles climb.
The Élégance Française Collection
Elegant, understated and timeless is how Lacoste expresses its history and expertise, in town or on the court.
As easy to wear in the city than at the beach.