Lacoste Unveils Conservation Initiative, Replacing the Coveted Crocodile With Endangered Species

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Lacoste Fall 2018

The project was revealed during the brand's Paris Fashion Week show.

At Paris Fashion Week on Wednesday, Lacoste designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista was out to prove that the 85-year-old brand is about more than just tennis clothes and those popular pique polo shirts.

For the fall men's and women's collections, he tapped into a lesser known side of the heritage, a tree development project that tennis great Rene Lacoste and his wife, Simone, developed at the dawn of World War II for the golf course of Chantaco in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, near their home in Basque country, to help protect forestry workers from being sent to labor camps during the German occupation.

This greening, which culminated in nearly a dozen local people being spared, and 50,000 trees being planted, inspired an earthy collection of protective layers, including soft-knit ponchos, deconstructed polo shirts and sweatpants in botanical prints; sweatshirts and men’s pullovers with engravings of leaves and trees; and tartan windbreakers and skirts inspired by the world of golf, tapping into fashion’s current craze for all things sportswear.

The brand also unveiled a Lacoste x Save Our Species partnership with the International Conservation of Nature, releasing 10 polo shirt designs that replace the iconic crocodile with an embroidered applique of an endangered species such as the Javan Rhino (only 67 left in the world); the Northern Sportive Lemur (only 50 left) and the Burmes Roofed Turtle (whose numbers have dwindled to 30). All proceeds from sales of the shirts, available now, will go to benefit wildlife conservation worldwide. As Baptista wrote in the notes, “This is our way of planting trees in 2018.”