The French clothing brand Lacoste has been around for 85 years now. Founded by tennis player René Lacoste and André Gillier, it is a place where you can shop high end designer clothing, eye wear, watches, foot wear, leather goods and even fragrances. Lacoste, whose primary goal is to be the leader in the premium casual wear market, is a big deal especially in the sporting world. The group sells two products every second which it recognizes to being a renowned name, especially in the sporting world.
The logo for this prestigious brand is a crocodile which was one of the founder’s (René Lacoste) nickname, brought about by the tenacity he showcased in the tennis court. Lacoste as an idea basically resulted from René being uncomfortable by the restricting tennis playing attire that stated it mandatory to wear a tie while playing. Those days the typical playing outfit included a long sleeved buttoned up shirt, pants and a tie. As one can imagine, this was a lot to bear while trying to race towards the net to hit the ball. He needed to find something more comfortable and that is what inspired his brand.
After he designed his first attire, René Lacoste, wore it himself to the court where he beat Bill Tilden (a tennis legend of his time) surprising everyone including Bill who had not expected his defeat. A couple of years later, René had to retire early due to respiratory complications and it is from there he decided to live the rest of his life making the finest tennis wear. Originally, Lacoste only produced clothes for tennis. However in the fifties, the expansion begun when the brand introduced coloured shirts, then Bernard Lacoste took over from his father in the sixties (infusing other products to compliment clothing collection), following the brand hitting the American market in the seventies. First forward to today and everyone wants to wear the brand regardless of their occupation hence its presence in 120 countries, 4 continents with 1,200 store locations world wide. These include South Africa, Tunisia, Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Mauritius, Mozambique, and Kenya now in Africa.
On the last weekend of April, the French Heritage brand, Lacoste, formally introduced itself to its Kenyan market in a grand all white themed fashion show. The launch which was held at its store location, Westgate Mall, was nothing short of its #ParisInNairobi theme. From its red carpet which ran all the way from the mall entrance, its art collections which electrified the walk way to the event together with the beautiful escorts, the amazing gift hampers being handed at the main reception, to the unique stage and all white umbrellas that hang over the runway.
Once your invite was confirmed, one was handed a gift hamper enveloped in a Lacoste branded goodie bag and a welcoming drink of choice as you settled in. The Emcee for the night was lovely, eloquent and entertaining as she introduced the brand incredibly before the models took over the show. The collections showcased during the night included the casual (a favourite for many), sporty and dressy. To make it interesting, in between collections as drinks were being served, the emcee had giveaway prizes from the sponsors (Diamond Trust Bank, Ashleys Coiffure and Spa, Madora (French chain of retail cosmetics) for the lucky participants. Throughout the show the Lacoste store was opened and guests were able to shop the looks that they loved the most during the showcase which was genius of them since it enabled the attendees to shop during the show.
After the show, there was a cocktail lounge which allowed for networking and some fun with the models and the rest of the guests. It is during the walk to this lounge area is when I noticed the perfectly curated art collections by the red carpet. As I got closer I observed that the art pieces were for sale and if you are familiar with the Lacoste brand you are right to guess that part of the proceeds were going to SAVE OUR SPECIES campaign program.
In a unique way to bring awareness to ten endangered animals, Lacoste recently released an extremely limited edition polo collection where ten threatened species including The Javan rhino, The Saola, The Sumatran Tiger amongst others temporarily hold the crocodile’s spot. The number of polos produced for each series corresponds to the remaining population sizes in the world. In buying a polo shirt, you participate in helping International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Lacoste in the fight for wildlife conservation world wide.
All images by @Ken_Nzau0