Gators Go Brazilian
If you’ve noticed the ads alongside the luscious images in your fave fashion magazines over the recent seasons, you’ve no doubt seen the changing face of Lacoste, the time-tested, prepster-yet-classic fashion that perchance populated your childhood closet. If you played golf, tennis, or any country clubby sport, or merely competed in the halls of your high school like I did, you surely collected the tops in as many colors as you could get your hands on. Models in the modern campaign now appear aloft in the air and svelte in their prepped out gear. There is a forward-thinking attitude to the campaign’s approach, and a whimsy that wasn’t there before, elements that will take Lacoste forward without changing what they do—essentially, the kind of creativity that keeps the customer coming back for more.
La Legende Lacoste is still out there populating closets and has teamed up with Brazilian designers Fernando and Humberto Campanas this season to make the 2009 Collectors Series polo shirt for Lacoste. It is the fourth Collectors Series for the company, in an effort to do something different with the brand that will make them stand out from the competition. Not like everyone wouldn’t love their Lacoste anyway, but bringing on the brothers has taken a tradition one step better.
The Campanas operate out of an atelier in Sao Paolo, Estudio Campana, known for combining materials of different malleability and texture and fashioning them into something new. After a conversation with John Storey and William Hartmann, who handle special projects for the outfitter, the idea gelled and the brothers were hooked. After all, as with many of us, they had worn the shirts in their youth and couldn’t resist the idea of making them into something new too. Despite Humberto being a law school grad, he couldn’t resist his creative impulses, opening initially a sculpture and jewelry studio and watching it evolve into handcrafted items, and ultimately into more extensive projects, with his brother as his co-creative. They are known most now for the chairs they’ve designed for Italian companies Edra and Alessi, and exhibitions with Ingo Maurer at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Now, select pieces from their collections sit in the MOMA, as well as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, among other museums.
The shirts are now available. No doubt, everyone will want to own the polo with a gaggle o’ gators on it, the design being based on the way the creatures pile up in mud beds during the dry season in their natural habitat. The Campanas brothers have designed a limited edition—with gators either clustered on the breast, scattered about in lines one after another, or in circular clusters—and a super limited edition—that is fashioned entirely of interlocked gators, giving it a lace-like effect—for both men and women.
All are produced in cooperation with the charity Coopa Roca, an organization that operates out of Rocinha, one of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas (or slums, to put it bluntly, some of the poorest places one will ever lay eyes on). Coopa-Roca is a sustainable development organization in that it provides work for the seamstresses and craftwomen who live there. It is indeed all good, to say the least, and LUX at that. Don’t wait around though: There are only 20,000 total shirts in the collection, not that many for all the Lacoste lovers worldwide. They might just get snapped up quickly.