Pardon our French

(The Philippine Star) - September 11, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Lacoste, the chic sports brand known for its casual elegance, and Lesage, renowned haute couture embroiderer, are combining their respective values and know-how in a daring partnership initiated by Felipe Oliveira Baptista, artistic director of Lacoste since 2010.

The women’s version of the iconic Lacoste polo shirt celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. This triggered Oliveira Baptista to return to his first loves — architecture from his student days and haute couture that he embraced early in his career, mixing these in an unexpected playground: the Lacoste couture polo shirt collection.

On these faux-oversized polo shirts and mini polo dresses with cuts that play with the skin, Oliveira Baptista has placed embroideries inspired by a multitude of graphic sources that echo the imagery of the 20th century. Rather than being a mere feature that enhances the garment, the embroidery conveys here its own dynamism and shows the colors of a clique, a community, an era. And it makes sense.

Fair play, art deco, street art & video games

Drawn from the Lacoste archive, sayings and slogans that evoke sportsmanship and fair play meet themes from the world of games in all its shapes and forms: treasure hunts in the heart of the jungle, “Watch out for crocodiles,” games of seduction with curved lines of an Art-Nouveau font, or video games in which tennis balls are inspired by an iconic large-mouthed yellow face. Also featured are graffiti, with those quick, automatic and intuitive drawings beloved by the designer. Playful stage-like gold and glitter recall the bling apparel of Hip-Hop singers and words glow like the neon signs of Las Vegas.

Revolution on both sides of the court

The ball of creativity and inventiveness bounces on both sides of the court. On the embroidery side, Lesage has adapted its techniques, conducting specific research into materials such as Plexiglas, laser cut into a “Fair Play” logo and stitched with invisible thread, or 3D inlays that combine fishnet and pearl. Some pieces required more than 200 hours of work.

On Lacoste’s side, pearls, Plexiglas and gems were embroidered on a polo dress to divert the functional object from its essential requirements — fit and comfort — and give it a highly refined edge. Long after leaving tennis courts and golf greens to take to the streets, the polo shirt is certain to become de rigueur at forthcoming society events.

The artistic director signs here an innovative challenge, with the obviousness and humor of the graphic themes chosen. He cleverly diverts the historic know-how of Lesage to enable the embroidery, and in the end the garment, to resonate with its time. The era of social networks, for example, with the hilarious “René did it first” slogan that sounds like a luxury hashtag for Instagram or Twitter.

Exhibition at Palais de Tokyo

Luxury combined with androgyny gives off a particularly sexy vibe suited to a free contemporary woman who mixes fashion codes to keep a certain mystery. This is the message that was highlighted during the “Players” exhibition conceived by Alexandre de Betak at Palais de Tokyo last July 5, during haute couture week. The eight Lacoste couture polo shirts displayed on busts revolved at the center of a luminous geometrical construction that reflected the graphic inspiration of each model.



Iconic women

The exhibition also unveiled the video and the eight photographs from “The Players” series shot by Alasdair McLellan, styled by Jane How and published in the new issue Game of Love of The Reality Show magazine. For this series, Felipe Oliveira Baptista and Tiffany Godoy, editor-in-chief of the magazine, have chosen eight French celebrities, eight strong women, eight emerging or established talents: Karidja Touré, revelation of the movie Bande de filles, DJ Clara 3000, the actresses, singers and models Emmanuelle Seigner, Laetitia Casta, Audrey Marnay, Cora Emmanuel and Constance Jablonski, and dancer and choreographer Marie-Agnès Gillot. Each embodies a style and contributes her own energy and personal world to the game between Lacoste and Lesage. Game, set and match.

Limited edition

Also presented at Palais de Tokyo, a limited edition: based on the couture collection, four models on which Lacoste’s emblem, the crocodile, fully embroidered, undergoes a lifting and climbs onto the collar of the polo shirt.

The limited edition is available at Le Bon Marché Paris, 10 Corso Como Milan, Dover Street Market London, Dover Street Market Ginza in Tokyo and I.T. Beijing Market, on the Lacoste digital flagship and at the Lacoste Champs-Elysées flagship.

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The Lesage x Lacoste couture polo shirts are available by special order.

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