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HISTORY : "LA CHEMÐSE LACOSTE"
RenÐ¹ LACOSTE was the first, together with his friends "The Musketeers", to steal the DAVIS CUP away from the Americans in 1927.
He won the French Open three times (1925, 1927 and at the ROLAND-GARROS stadium in 1929), twice in Great-Britain at WIMBLEDON (1925 and 1928) and twice the U.S. OPEN at Forest Hill (1926 and 1927). This is the way in which RenÐ¹ LACOSTE entered the legend of tennis.
RenÐ¹ LACOSTE was born in France on July 2, 1904 and died on October 12, 1996.
The true story of the "Alligator" begins in 1927. RenÐ¹ LACOSTE liked to tell the way his nickname became an emblem recognized throughout the world.
"I was nicknamed "the Alligator" by the American press, after I had made a bet with the Captain of the French DAVIS CUP Team concerning a suitcase made from alligator skin. He promised to give it to me if I won a very important match for our team. The public must have been fond of this nickname which conveyed the tenacity I displayed on the tennis courts, never letting go of my prey!
So my friend Robert GEORGE drew an alligator which I then had embroidered on the blazer I wore on the courts."
An attentive spectator at RenÐ¹ LACOSTE 's DAVIS CUP matches was the winner of the BRITISH Women's golf title, Mademoiselle Simone THION de la CHAUME, who soon became his wife and constant support.
In 1933, RenÐ¹ LACOSTE and AndrÐ¹ GILLIER, the owner and President of the largest French knitwear manufacturing firm of that time, set up a company to manufacture the logo-embroidered shirt. The champion had designed this for his own use on the tennis court, as well as a number of other shirts for tennis, golf and sailing, as can be seen in the first catalogue, produced in 1933.
This was probably the first time a brand name had ever been visible on the outside of an item of clothing - an idea which since then has done extremely well.
This shirt revolutionized men's sportswear and replaced the woven fabric, long-sleeved, starched classic shirts. The first LACOSTE shirt was white, slightly shorter than its counterparts, had a ribbed collar, short sleeves with ribbed bands and was made of a light knitted fabric called "Jersey petit piquÐ¹". It continues to offer the same quality, comfort and solidity on which it built its name and which constitute its uniqueness.
FROM 1933 UP TO NOW, A FEW KEY DATES ENABLE LACOSTE TO FOLLOW SIXTY FIVE YEARS OF PROGRESS :
1933 Industrial production of the first LACOSTE shirts, in particular the shirt in white "petit piquÐ¹" cotton.
1934 to 1939 Progressive and selective development of sales of top quality shirts.
1940 to1946 Interruption of the Company's activity during the war.
1946 Resumption of production on the French market.
1951 Beginning of clothing exports to Italy. Addition of a colour range to the white petit piquÐ¹ cotton shirt.
1952 Beginning of clothing exports to the United States.
1959 First collection for children.
1960 Launch of shorts and striped polo shirts.The string damper is patented by RenÐ¹ LACOSTE.
1962 Signature of a manufacturing and distribution licence for clothing in Spain.
1963 Invention by RenÐ¹ LACOSTE of the first steel racket. Another revolution in tennis equipment, far superior to the wooden models. The LACOSTE racket had a revolutionary round head and open throat and paved the way for today's models. Its unique distribution of weight at both ends concentrated the power behind the ball. Its small aerodynamic resistance gave it a high handiness and its original patented system for fixing the strings provided a higher efficiency, especially with low cost synthetic strings. This racket won 46 titles of the Grand Slam tournaments between 1966 and 1978, was distributed in the United States by WILSON and was used notably by Jimmy CONNORS and Billie Jean KING.Arrival of Bernard LACOSTE, RenÐ¹ LACOSTE's eldest son, as Chairman of the Company.
1964 Golf World Team Champion title goes to 19 years-old Catherine LACOSTE, RenÐ¹ LACOSTE's and Simone THION de la CHAUME's daughter.Beginning of clothing exports to Japan.
1966 Signature of an agreement of manufacturing under licence for clothing in the United States. Addition of a line of tracksuits.
1967 Victory of Catherine LACOSTE in the U.S. Ladies Golf OPEN, followed by a double win at the U.S. and the British Amateur in 1969.
1968 Signature of a licensing agreement with Jean PATOU for a LACOSTE Eau de Toilette.
1971 Signature of a manufacturing and distribution licence for clothing in Japan.
1974 Invention by RenÐ¹ LACOSTE of the "damper" which will be used on LACOSTE steel rackets. This small patented device absorbs vibrations while improving accuracy and increasing the restitution of energy and in turn the speed of the ball up to 10 % (test from the French National Institute For Sports). This device diminishes the risk of "tennis elbow".
1978 Signature of a manufacturing and distribution licence for clothing in Brazil.
1981 Signature of a licensing agreement with L'AMY for a line of sunglasses and optical frames.Addition of sports bags to the LACOSTE line.Opening of the first LACOSTE boutique in the world, avenue Victor Hugo in Paris.
1982 Signature of a manufacturing and distribution licence for clothing in Australia.
1984 Launch of a new line of men's toiletries with Jean PATOU.For the Peugeot 205 launch, construction of a special "LACOSTE" limited series.LA CHEMISE LACOSTE, becomes a member of the COLBERT Committee.
1985 Launch of a new line of LACOSTE tennis shoes, manufactured in France, followed by deck shoes in 1986 and walking shoes in 1988.Presentation at the Paris Boat Show of the LACOSTE 42-foot yacht (the biggest "alligator" product to this day), designed by American architects "STEPHENS and SPARKMAN" and produced