History Podcasts

Lacosta YFB-58 - History

Lacosta YFB-58 - History

(YFB-58: t. 190; 1. 84'11"; b. 26'2"; dr. 7'3"; a. none)

Lacosta (YFB-58) was built in 1922 by Kyle & Purdy, City Island, N.Y., and owned by the Department of Docks, New York City. She was taken over 11 December 1944 as Fardham by WSA on bareboat charter. Acquired by the Navy 6 January 1845, she was assigned to the 3d Naval District and placed in service as YFB - 8. Renamed Laooota 13 March, ahe operated in New York Harbor until 11 April 1946. She was placed out of service 3 June and was returned to her former owner 19 June.


A former convict and police informer who was paid $17,500 by Penthouse magazine as a $100-an-hour consultant on organized crime has testified that he saw a number of reputed mob figures at La Costa, a California resort and health spa.

The witness, Eugene Conrad, recruited by Penthouse while in prison for stock fraud, concluded two days on the witness stand late Tuesday in the $522 million libel suit by La Costa against Penthouse. The suit stemmed from a 1975 Penthouse article that said the resort was frequented by mobsters.

Mr. Conrad testified that he visited La Costa in 1973 as an undercover agent for a ''mini strike force'' investigating the area in northern San Diego County where the resort is situated.

Before working for the police, Mr. Conrad said, he was an associate and business partner of well-known figures in organized crime in Chicago and elsewhere, and was convicted in Chicago in the 1960's on gambling and bankruptcy fraud charges. Mafia ɼhieftain' Cited

Much of his testimony centered on Louis (Lou the Tailor) Rosanova, who was named in a Senate crime committee report as a ''top chieftain'' in the Mafia. Mr. Conrad said he was present at La Costa when Mr. Rosanova talked with Allen Dorfman about the transfer from Chicago to California of bank certificates of deposit belonging to a pension fund of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Mr. Dorfman is a resident of La Costa, a former teamster-appointed member of the resort's board of directors and a onetime special consultant for the teamsters' pension fund, which lent $87 million to the resort. Mr. Dorfman was removed from La Costa's board of directors in 1972, when he was convicted of taking pension fund kickbacks for loans unrelated to La Costa.

Mr. Conrad's reference to the financial transfer was not further developed on the witness stand. The rest of his testimony dealt with reputed mob figures he said he observed at La Costa in 1973. They included Marshall Caifano, who is on the Nevada casino blacklist as a known mobster, and Anthony Spilotro, who has been identified as a Chicago-Las Vegas mob enforcer.

Mr. Conrad testified that he saw Mr. Caifano talking in the resort locker room to Morris Dalitz, one of the four founders of La Costa. The witness also said that he was introduced to Mr. Dalitz in the cocktail lounge by Mr. Rosanova, who was once Mr. Conrad's partner in a Chicago concrete concern. Obtained Room From Founder

Mr. Conrad also testified that Mr. Rosanova helped him obtain a room at La Costa in February 1973 after being told that there were no rooms available. The witness said he made a telephone call to Mr. Rosanova, who was staying at the resort, and was then given a cottage key by Allard Roen, another La Costa founder.

Under cross-examination by Louis Nizer, La Costa's attorney, Mr. Conrad conceded that he was unable to describe Mr. Roen when lawyers representing the resort took Mr. Conrad's deposition last year.

Pressed at that time to describe Mr. Roen as ''tall or short,'' '⟺t or thin'' and ''young or old,'' Mr. Conrad said that he 'ɼould not recall.'' But when he was questioned Tuesday, he readily singled out Mr. Roen from about 25 spectators at the trial.

Mr. Conrad, who said he had worked undercover for a variety of California law agencies from 1972 to 1974, testified that his role as an informer ended in 1974 when he pleaded guilty to interstate wire fraud and illegal campaign contributions. He was sentenced to 42 months at Lompoc Prison, from which he was released last August.

While at Lompoc, he said he made an agreement with Penthouse attorneys to provide them with information on organized crime at $100 an hour, and met with them for 90 hours while he was in prison and about 80 hours after he was released.

Mr. Conrad also testified that Penthouse had paid his lawyers' fees of '➫out $4,000.'' Questioned later by a La Costa attorney, however, he said he was not paid for his testimony at the trial.

The trial is now in its third month. The plaintiffs originally sought $490 million in damages, but last week Judge Kenneth Gale approved a motion from La Costa to add $32 million in claims for losses in a land sale last year to a Canadian company.

Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your De La Costa ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name De La Costa. Like a window into their day-to-day life, De La Costa census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 642 immigration records available for the last name De La Costa. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name De La Costa. For the veterans among your De La Costa ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name De La Costa. Like a window into their day-to-day life, De La Costa census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 642 immigration records available for the last name De La Costa. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name De La Costa. For the veterans among your De La Costa ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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History of La Cosa Nostra

Giuseppe Esposito was the first known Sicilian Mafia member to emigrate to the U.S. He and six other Sicilians fled to New York after murdering the chancellor and a vice chancellor of a Sicilian province and 11 wealthy landowners. He was arrested in New Orleans in 1881 and extradited to Italy.

New Orleans was also the site of the first major Mafia incident in this country. On October 15, 1890, New Orleans Police Superintendent David Hennessey was murdered execution-style. Hundreds of Sicilians were arrested, and 19 were eventually indicted for the murder. An acquittal generated rumors of widespread bribery and intimidated witnesses. Outraged citizens of New Orleans organized a lynch mob and killed 11 of the 19 defendants. Two were hanged, nine were shot, and the remaining eight escaped.

The American Mafia has evolved over the years as various gangs assumed, and lost, dominance over the years—for example, the Black Hand gangs around 1900, the Five Points Gang in the 1910s and 󈥴s in New York City, and Al Capone’s Syndicate in Chicago in the 1920s. It was not until 1951 that a U.S. Senate committee led by Democrat Estes Kefauver of Tennessee determined that a “sinister criminal organization,” later known as La Cosa Nostra, operated in this nation. Six years later, The New York State Police uncovered a meeting of major La Cosa Nostra figures from around the country in the small upstate New York town of Apalachin. Many of the attendees were arrested. The event was the catalyst that changed the way law enforcement battles organized crime.

Early History—Masseria and Maranzano

By the end of the 󈥴s, two primary factions had emerged in the Italian criminal groups in New York. Joseph Masseria, who controlled the groups, sparked the so-called “Castellammarese War” in 1928 when he tried to gain control of organized crime across the country. The war ended in 1931 when Salvatore Maranzano conspired with Masseria’s top soldier, Charles “Lucky” Luciano, to have Masseria killed. Maranzano emerged as the most powerful Mafia boss in the nation, setting up five separate criminal groups in New York and calling himself “Boss of Bosses.”

Maranzano was the first leader of the organization now dubbed "La Cosa Nostra." He established its code of conduct, set up the “family” divisions and structure, and enacted procedures for resolving disputes. Two of the most powerful La Cosa Nostra families—known today as the Genovese and Gambino families—emerged from Maranzano’s restructuring efforts. He named Luciano the first boss of what would later be known as the Genovese family. Luciano showed his appreciation less than five months later by sending five men dressed as police officers to Maranzano’s office to murder him.

Luciano, Costello, and Genovese

With Maranzano out of the way, Luciano become the most powerful Mafia boss in America and used his position to run La Cosa Nostra like a major corporation. Luciano set up the “Commission” to rule all La Cosa Nostra activities. The Commission included bosses from seven families and divided the different rackets among the families.

In 1936, Luciano was sentenced to 30 to 50 years in prison for operating a prostitution ring. Ten years later, he was released from prison and deported to Italy, never to return. There, he became a liaison between the Sicilian Mafia and La Cosa Nostra. When he was convicted, Frank Costello became acting boss because underboss Vito Genovese had fled to Italy to avoid a murder charge. Genovese's return to the states was cleared when a key witness against him was poisoned and the charges were dropped.

Costello led the family for approximately 20 years until May of 1957, when Genovese took control by sending soldier Vincent “the Chin” Gigante to murder him. Costello survived the attack but relinquished control of the family to Genovese, who named it after himself. Attempted murder charges against Gigante were dismissed when Costello refused to identify him as the shooter. In 1959, it was Genovese’s turn to go to prison following a conviction of conspiracy to violate narcotics laws. He received a 15-year sentence but continued to run the family through his underlings from his prison cell in Atlanta, Georgia.

Valachi Sings—and Lombardo Leads

About this time, Joseph Valachi (pictured right), a “made man,” was sent to the same prison as Genovese on a narcotics conviction. Labeled an informer, Valachi survived three attempts on his life behind bars. Still in prison in 1962, he killed a man he thought Genovese had sent to kill him. He was sentenced to life for the murder.

The sentencing was a turning point for Valachi, who decided to cooperate with the U.S. government. Recruited by FBI agents, he appeared before the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on September 27, 1963 and testified that he was a member of a secret criminal society in the U.S. known as La Cosa Nostra. He revealed to the committee numerous secrets of the organization, including its name, structure, power bases, codes, swearing-in ceremony, and members.

In 1969, several years after Valachi began cooperating with the FBI, Vito Genovese died in his prison cell. By then the Genovese family was under the control of Philip “Benny Squint” Lombardo. Unlike the bosses before him, Lombardo preferred to rule behind his underboss. His first, Thomas Eboli, was murdered in 1972. Lombardo then promoted Frank “Funzi” Tieri as his front man.

Throughout the 1980s, the Genovese family hierarchy went through several changes. Tieri, recognized on the street as the Genovese family boss in the late 1970s, was convicted for operating a criminal organization through a pattern of racketeering that included murder and extortion. Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno then fronted as boss until 1985, when he and the bosses of the other four New York families were convicted for operating a criminal enterprise—the LCN Commission. Lombardo, his two captains in prison and his health failing, turned full control of the Genovese family over to Gigante—the man who tried to kill Costello 30 years earlier.

Fish on the Hook

In 1986, a second member turned against the Genovese family when Vincent “Fish” Cafaro, a soldier and right-hand-man to Anthony Salerno, decided to cooperate with the FBI and testify. According to Cafaro’s sworn statement, Gigante ran the family from behind the scenes while pretending to be mentally ill. Cafaro said this behavior helped further insulate Gigante from authorities while he ran the Genovese family’s criminal activities.

Gigante’s odd behavior and mumbling while he walked around New York’s East Village in a bathrobe earned him the nickname “the Odd Father.” After an FBI investigation, Gigante was convicted of racketeering and murder conspiracy in December 1997 and sentenced to 12 years. Another FBI investigation led to his indictment on January 17, 2002, accusing him of continuing to run the Genovese family from prison. He pled guilty to obstruction of justice in 2003. Gigante died in prison in December 2005 in the same federal hospital where Gambino family leader John Gotti had died three years earlier.

The Genovese crime family was once considered the most powerful organized crime family in the nation. Members and their numerous associates engaged in drug trafficking, murder, assault, gambling, extortion, loansharking, labor racketeering, money laundering, arson, gasoline bootlegging, and infiltration of legitimate businesses. Genovese family members also were involved in stock market manipulation and other illegal frauds and schemes, as evidenced in the FBI's “Mobstocks” investigation.

Lacoste: elegance beyond the court

Sunday, July 14th 2019, it's half-past seven in the evening at Wimbledon's Center Court, and none of the spectators of the most epic final to be, would bet a pound on Novak Djokovic's win. His opponent Roger Federer, 8-time Wimbledon champion, has 3 championship points and is serving for the twenty-first slam title of his career.

At this point, it feels like a Hollywood' screenwriter intervened: the Swiss loses his service, it goes 12 tie and after 5 hours Novak reconfirms himself as the champion of the tournament that leaves pounds of glory in the history of the sport. The Serbian does not celebrate but approaches the net with a light walk, like those made on the space station in the absence of gravity, and the smile of one who knew that the pound could have had another fate. Just over 1 million and 300 thousand spectators - the most- watched final ever in Italy - believe that they have seen unrepeatable event for tennis, but as a constant in the history of the sport, among the protagonists there is also the green Lacoste crocodile, embroidered on the chest of Novak Djokovic's bank polo.

Tennis players come and go, the styles of play change, trends and fashions alternate, but the crocodile stitched on the chest of the most famous tennis players stays iconic, and it stills transmits elegance to the movement even after 100 years, combining the technical and gestural act with a precise idea of shapes and beauty, so fascinating that it has exceeded 23.77 x 8.23 meters of the court.


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Updated 05/26/2021

Jean René Lacoste was a French tennis player and businessman. Nicknamed “Le Crocodile,” he was the inventor of the original Lacoste polo shirt and co-founder of the Lacoste clothing company. He was born on July 2nd, 1904 and died on October 12th, 1996 at the age of ninety-two.

René was the son of Jean-Jules Lacoste and Jeanne-Marie Magdeleine Larrieu-Let. He was born in Paris at 28 Rue Albouy in the city’s 10th Arrondissement. His father, Jean-Jules was a champion rower (he won the French title in 1890), and an enthusiastic inventor, something which René would also become. Jean-Jules was the founder of the car manufacturer J. Lacoste & Co., later known as Lacoste et Battmann. Again, his example as an entrepreneur would also be important for his son’s later career. In addition to his own company, Jean-Jules handled the affairs of the much larger Hispano-Suiza auto company which had opened a factory at Levallois-Perret, in 1911, to be close to the lucrative markets of Paris. It was Jean-Jules’ connection with Hispano-Suiza that eventually led to René’s meeting with his Lacoste cofounder André Gillier.

René Lacoste was married to Simone Thion de la Chaume, a French amateur golf champion on June 30th, 1930. They had three children: one daughter and two sons. Their daughter Catherine Lacoste was a champion golfer and president of the Golf Club Chantaco, founded by her mother, at a few kilometers from St. Jean-de-Luz. She also won the US Open in the 1960s. His sons, Bernard and Michel on the other hand, were not exceptional athletes.

Tennis Career

Lacoste was not originally interested in tennis and did not play a game until he was fifteen, but a trip with his father to England where he witnessed a tennis match ignited his interest. His father, though, had planned to enroll him in a prestigious French engineering school, so when René insisted on playing tennis, he gave him an ultimatum: become a world champion within five years or else he would decide his future. Lacoste responded by dedicating himself to tennis in a way few other people could have, and became a top player within three years.

Lacoste was one of The Four Musketeers, a group of French tennis stars who dominated the game in the 1920s and early 1930s. He won seven Grand Slam singles titles in the French, American, and British championships, but never made the long sea trip to Australia to play in their championships. René was the world number one player for both 1926 and 1927. In all, Lacoste won eleven majors (seven singles, four doubles), and is considered by many to be the best of the four French players who made up the Four Musketeers.

In the words of the Tennis Hall of Fame to which he was elected in 1976:

Though not blessed with superstar-like athletic talent, Lacoste still had terrific skills, and he turned himself into a world champion the old fashioned way: through determination, training, fitness, and a journal of copious notes that he kept on each of his opponents. Lacoste preferred playing from the baseline, where he could employ strategic changes in pace. He would hit short, and mix in a pinpoint lob with accurate passing shots.(1)

In the videos of Lacoste playing tennis on YouTube, his tactics can be clearly seen. In 1928, René published a book called Lacoste on Tennis that outlined his methodical approach to the game. You can still find used, albeit very expensive, copies on Amazon.

Crocodile Nickname

René was nicknamed “Le Crocodile” by fans although the reasons for this nickname have been disputed. Some sources say it was because of his tenacity on the court, while others say it was after a crocodile-skin suitcase he took with him on tour. It’s also been claimed that Lacoste and the captain of the French Davis Cup team had a bet with the winner receiving an alligator skin suitcase. In 2018, a grandson of George Carens, a sportswriter for the Boston Herald Traveller in the 1920s, said that it was Carens who had given Lacoste his nickname after hearing the story of the suitcase. In the grandson’s words:

[he] Started calling him ‘The Crocodile.’ Over the years, he used to write lots of articles about him. And the name stuck. … He basically said that ‘The Crocodile’ described him perfectly … Tenacious on his grip, flashing an omnivorous, toothy grin. He was relentless, and chewed up his opponents slowly. But, without a doubt, the valise was the genesis of it. (2)

Whatever the source, Lacoste embraced the nickname, saying “the nickname highlighted my tenacity on the tennis courts, never giving up my prey.” In honor of his nickname, René Lacoste’s friend Robert George embroidered a crocodile onto a blazer that Lacoste wore for his matches.

René retired from competitive tennis in 1929 at the age of twenty-five, after winning the French Open, because his health and game had declined due to a respiratory disease, reportedly Tuberculosis. Subsequent to his retirement, he served as Captain of the French Davis Cup Team from 1931 to 1933, winning the cup in both 1931 and 1932.

Lacoste Shirt and Company

The Lacoste shirt was launched almost by chance. According to an interview, René gave to People Magazine in 1979:

In the late 1920s René always played in the standard white pants and starched shirt with collar and cuffs. “One day I noticed my friend the Marquis of Cholmondeley wearing his polo shirt on the court,” remembers René. ” ‘A practical idea,’ I thought to myself.” It was so practical, in fact, that René commissioned an English tailor to whip up a few shirts in both cotton and wool. “Soon everyone was wearing them,” he smiles.(3)

It was at the 1926 US Open that René debuted the first version of his tennis shirt. At the time, most players wore ordinary long-sleeved white shirts with the sleeves rolled up, but Lacoste appeared on court wearing a shirt he had designed himself – a white short-sleeved “chemise” made out of a light knitted, breathable jersey fabric called “petit pique.”

In 1933, René founded La Société Chemise Lacoste with André Gillier. The company produced a version of the tennis shirt which Lacoste had worn when he was playing, which had a crocodile logo embroidered on the chest. The shirt was known as the L.12.12, because it had required 12 versions before Lacoste was satisfied (For more on the history of Lacoste, see The History of Lacoste). René led Lacoste until 1963 when he turned the company over to his son, Bernard Lacoste.

Other Inventions and Patents

René Lacoste was a prolific inventor throughout his life, and once said, “Inventor should be on my business cards. I’ve been inventing all my life. In the 1920s, at the age of 24, he invented the tennis ball machine to help him practice his overhead swing. You can see 1920s Newsreel footage of Lacoste’s machine on Youtube. Early on, he also patented the unique collar of the Lacoste polo shirt. In 1961, Lacoste created an innovation in tennis rackets by designing the first tubular steel tennis racket. He also developed a new polyurethane golf driver, which helped begin the sport’s transition to composite material-based clubs.

In his later years, Lacoste continued to create inventions. In 1973, he patented a tennis racket with a built-in vibration damper.(4) In 1975, René patented a new type of tennis ball.(5) In 1979, Lacoste filed a patent for easy-to-carry luggage especially designed for carrying tennis rackets.(6)

In 1989, René filed a patent for an improved tennis racket with more uniform elasticity which improved control.(7) In 1991, Lacoste filed a patent for reducing the weight of molded golf club heads by including cavities within them.(8) Overall, during his life, it is claimed that René filed more than thirty patents, including twenty or so between 1960 and 2000.

Over the last several years of his life, René Lacoste battled health issues. He suffered from prostate cancer and in early October 1996 had surgery on a broken leg. René died in his sleep from heart failure just four days after the procedure, on October 14, 1996, in St. Jean-de-Luz, France. He is buried in the Saint Joseph de Saint Jean de Luz Cemetery, Saint-Jean-de-Luz , Departement des Pyrénées-Atlantiques , Aquitaine , France.(9). His wife, who died at the age of 92 in 2001 is buried in the same cemetery.(10)

Was René Lacoste Black?

In 2016, an internet meme surfaced claiming that René Lacoste was Black due to his mother having Jamaican ancestry. It is generally agreed that this claim is incorrect, but numerous posts on social media, like this one, keep the rumors alive. His mother’s family was actually from Monein, in South-West France. Her family genealogy has been traced as far back as the 1700s, and shows no Jamaican ancestors. You can see his mother’s genealogy online at Geneastar. Although many people in France have North African ancestors, this would usually be considered Arab rather than Black ancestry. In any event, Monein is part of the Béarn region in France and historically it was populated by people of Basque origin. Genetic analysis of the Basque people show that they have more genes from indigenous hunter-gatherers than their near neighbors in Spain and France, but less North African ancestry.(11). In conclusion, the evidence for René Lacoste being Black is essentially non-existent.


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Updated 10/21/2020

The Lacoste Group is currently a division of the Swiss Company Maus Freres. It has annual sales of over two billion euros and sells two Lacoste products every second. Currently it has over ten thousand employees in one hundred and twenty countries. In those countries, Lacoste has over ten thousand wholesalers and 1,200 boutiques.(1). However, it was not alway this large a company.

The famous French Tennis Player René Lacoste founded The Lacoste Company, officially known as La Chemise Lacoste, in 1933 with André Gillier, the owner and president of the largest French knitwear manufacturing firm at the time. Their first product was the revolutionary tennis shirt Lacoste had designed and worn on the tennis courts with the crocodile logo embroidered on the chest. The production version was dubbed the L.12.12 where L stands for Lacoste, 1 because it was unique, 2 for the factory code for short sleeved, and 12, because the twelfth prototype was selected. The shirt was made with a fabric known as petit pique. Petit is French for small, while Pique refers to “a weaving style, normally used with cotton yarn, which is characterized by raised parallel cords or geometric designs in the fabric” (2).

Although the company has claimed that this is the first example of a brand name appearing on the outside of an article of clothing, the “Jantzen girl” logo appeared on the outside of Jantzen Knitting Mills’ swimsuits as early as 1921. In addition to tennis shirts, Lacoste produced shirts for golf and sailing. The original Lacoste slogan was “Attention au crocodile… il n’y a qu’une CHEMISE LACOSTE.”

In 1951, the company began to expand as it branched from “tennis white” and introduced colored shirts. In 1953, David Crystal, the owner of Izod, bought 50% of the rights to market Lacoste in America, and advertised them as “the status symbol of the competent sportsman,”as Izod/Lacoste. This link lasted until 1993, and has led to a lot of brand confusion in the United States. Ironically, Vincent Draddy, who was head of Crystal at the time, admitted in an interview in 1977, that “at the time I considered not bothering with the alligator symbol.”(3) Almost immediately after it’s introduction, it began to be worn by “weekend athletes like Dwight Eisenhower, Bob Hope and John Wayne.”(4) The fact that it was sold at Brooks Brothers until the late 1960’s also helped give an “upper-class” aura to the brand, and led to it becoming a mainstay of the “preppy wardrobe.”

In 1963, Bernard Lacoste took over the management of the company from his father René. At that time, around 300,000 Lacoste products were sold annually, but significant company growth was seen under Bernard’s management. The company also began to introduce other products into their line including shorts, perfume, optical and sunglasses, tennis shoes, deck shoes, walking shoes, watches, and various leather goods. In particular, their introduction of a perfume for men in 1968 was very innovative.

In 1971, Lacoste began their partnership with the Roland-Garros French Open. This partnership has continued down until today, and marked the beginning of Lacoste’s marketing partnership with professional tennis that has reached new heights in the twenty-first century.

The Lacoste brand reached its height of popularity in the US during the late 1970s and became the signature 1980s “preppy” wardrobe item, even being mentioned in Lisa Birnbach’s Official Preppy Handbook of 1980. In the 1980s, the “preppy” look became mainstream, with many nationwide department stores featuring separate “Izod/Lacoste” shops, with jackets, sweaters and a wide variety of other apparel. During this period annual sales reached $150 million for the shirts alone. At that time, In the United States, Izod and Lacoste were often used interchangeably, because Lacoste shirts were still branded as Izod Lacoste under Izod’s license for sale in the U.S. In 1985, Lacoste also ventured into footwear with the release of its now iconic M85 sneaker.

The “Dark Decade” of the 1990s

The “preppy” trend cooled in the late 1980s and the combined brand became overexposed. while the polo shirt market was also saturated with knock-off replicas. As a result, in the U.S., the brands were split again with Lacoste moving upmarket in an attempt to recapture its “elite” status, and Izod was re-introduced as mid-range apparel. While this initially helped sales, the U.S. Licensee still went bankrupt, and in 1993, sold they sold their 50% share of Lacoste back to Lacoste, who thus regained exclusive U.S. rights to distribute shirts under its own brand.

The brand overexposure of the 1980s continued to weigh on Lacoste’s sales in the United States throughout the 1990s. In France, meanwhile, the brand suffered through what has been called a “dark decade” of sales. This drop in sales has been blamed by one scholar upon the popularity of the brand among French urban youth in the banlieues which hurt Lacoste’s upscale image.(5)

In the early 2000s, Lacoste’s popularity surged due to French designer Christophe Lemaire’s work to create a more modern, upscale look. In 2005, almost 50 million Lacoste products sold in over 110 countries. The brand’s visibility also increased due to the contracts between Lacoste and several young tennis players, including American tennis star Andy Roddick, French rising young prospect Richard Gasquet, and Swiss Olympic gold medalist Stanislas Wawrinka.

In the mid-2000s, Lacoste began to increase its presence in the golf world, sponsoring two time Masters Tournament champion José María Olazábal and Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie.

Bernard Lacoste became seriously ill in early 2005, which led him to transfer the presidency of Lacoste to his younger brother and close collaborator for many years, Michel Lacoste. Bernard died in Paris on March 21, 2006. That same year the Lacoste Foundation was founded. The foundation supports community projects that, through sport, come to the aid of vulnerable young people. Its programs focus on both golf and tennis. Michel Lacoste served as President until 2008, and it is currently chaired by Lacoste Beryl Hamilton, Rene’s granddaughter.

Since 2006, the brand has also launched numerous limited editions of its famous polo. Designers Tom Dixon, Michael Young, the magazine Visionaire, the Campana brothers, Li Xiaofeng, and Jonathan Adler have all participated.

In 2010, Felipe Baptiste Oliveira became the creative director of Lacoste, a post he would hold for eight years.

In November, 2012, Lacoste was sold to the Swiss family-held group Maus Frères, which already held 35 percent of Lacoste capital via its subsidiary Devanlay, in a deal which valued Lacoste at 1 billion euros. The deal followed a family feud over the management of the brand which pitted Michel Lacoste against his daughter, Sophie Lacoste-Dournel, who had been named non-executive chairman in September, 2012. At the time of the deal, Lacoste-Dournel said she and family members had decided to sell “with great sadness.” The new owner, Maue Frères describes itself as:

A Swiss family enterprise spanning over a century, four continents and four generations of the Maus and Nordmann clans. In November 1902, department store owner Leon Nordmann with close friends, brothers Ernest and Henri Maus (mercantile and hosiery wholesalers) formed a partnership and opened their first venture in Luzern. The department store specialised in textiles, notions and knitwear … Today, Maus Frères SA is run with the same astute business flair of the enterprise’s founders. Succeeding generations of Maus and Nordmann heirs have parlayed the chain’s modest beginnings into a conglomerate of well-known retail brands and store chains in Switzerland and worldwide.

Recent History

In early 2018, Novac Djokovic debuted as the new face of Lacoste under the slogan “The New Crocodile.” And, in October 2018, Lacoste appointed Louise Trotter, the first female creative director in the firm’s history.

As part of a new focus on “street style,” Lacoste has increasingly been launching collaboration with other fashion houses such as Concepts and Mastermind JAPAN and numerous rappers. You can see more on this trend on our Collaborations Page.

In 2020, in addition to dealing with Covid-19, Lacoste was accused of using forced Uighur labor to produce some of its products. In response, Lacoste pledged to stop using those suppliers. For full coverage of this see our Forced Labor Category Page.

Lacoste Connected Brands

Fusalp – In 2013, Sophie and Phillipe Lacoste continued the family’s involvement in fashion by buying the storied French company Fusalp.

Lacoste, Provence

Lacoste perches on top a hill in the heart of the Luberon region and is a stunning medival village. The views from the top over the Luberon are quite wonderful.

The village walls date back to the 12th century and the ruined castle at the top dates from the 16th-18th century. This chateau is most famous for being the home of the infamous Marquis de Sade. It is now owned by millionaire fashion designer Pierre Cardin who has launched a stylish opera festival at the castle which is held in July.

No cars are allowed in the village, but there is free parking below the village and some parking at the castle at the top of the village. Note it is a steep walk from bottom to top!

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History & Culture in Lacoste

Lacoste has been a site for human populations for many centuries thanks to its agricultural land, plentiful water supply and wonderfully sunny aspect that is also protected from the Mistral wind.

It had its fair share of plagues, wars and general thievery in the Middle Ages, but emerged in the 16th century as a relatively peaceful place where its inhabitants could prosper. Its famous castle was built at this time. It actually dates back to the 11th century but became famous when the property was bequeathed to the de Sade family in 1716.

During the following years, the castle was restored and gentrified. Donatien Alphonse Francois, better known as the Marquis de Sade (aristocrat, writer and revolutionary, infamous for his hedonistic lifestyle, scandals & imprisonment), inherited the castle in 1763 and lived there on and off until 1778. He was renowned for hosting debauched parties at the castle he also created a 120 seater theatre and undertook many extensions and improvements. The castle suffered during the French Revolution where it was vandalised and its stones were used to build houses in the village. It wasn't until the 20th century that it began to undergo restoration under the guidance of Andre Bouer.

After his death in 1994, Pierre Cardin bought the estate in 2001 and continued the renovations. The castle is still largely a ruin, but it is possible to visit small areas of whats left. It hosts art exhibitions during the year, and an arts festival in July.

Sights & Attractions in Lacoste

Apart from the castle, there are a number of other historical sites worth going to see. The church Sainte Trophime is situated just outside the medieval town walls, and the town's ancient gateways with their arched Romanesquefeaturs provide suitable architectural interest. You will also find a square tower with a pretty belfry.

Wandering around Lacoste feels a bit like a step back in history, it retains its authenticity because the Medieval buildings have not been restored to within an inch of their lives. The lack of Disneyfication is reflected in the lack of shops and services in the village.

There are a couple of artisan workshops (painters, ironworkers, stone mason, jewellery) - pop to the tourist office in the church square to find out more. There are two cafes, one by the tourist office and other, Cafe de France, is outside the village. Cafe de France has fabulous views over towards Bonnieux and had a cameo role in the Russel Crowe film, A Good Year. It also offers bed & breakfast accommodation.

The Savannah College of Art & Design has an outpost in Lacoste, it offers a range of art and design courses in English.


The name René Lacoste evokes images of timeless tennis style and of an era when tradition and history were revered as norms rather than as nostalgia for a bygone era. But Lacoste is more than just a logo or brand.

In the early days of tennis, standard attire was not unlike what many people would now wear to an office or even a more rarified social gathering. Think: long sleeve collared shirts, ties, and flannel pants. Rene Lacoste decided that there had to be a better way to dress for athletic pursuits. Though he had worn a shirt with a collar and extended back from around 1926 in the belief that tennis wear of the time was restrictive and stifling to wear, they were not made for the public. Lacoste founded Chemise Lacoste with partner André Gillier in 1933 after he had retired from the professional circuit. The shirt he designed became known as the tennis shirt as well as the “polo” shirt. In terms of design, the shirt was revolutionary in many ways. The piqué weave was more breathable, the collar could flip up to protect from sun damage, the sleeves would not roll down and the tennis tail would not come untucked. The crocodile embroidered on the shirts was a reference to Lacoste’s nickname on the tennis circuit. Often assumed to be an alligator, it is a cultural icon and globally recognized and imitated.

The Lacoste legacy isn’t only in clothing. 1961 marked the gradual beginning of the end for wood tennis racquets. Lacoste debuted a revolutionary new design in the first tubular steel racquet. While it bore the Lacoste brand in Europe, in America it was licensed and sold by Wilson Sporting Goods as the Wilson T-2000 and was most famously used by Jimmy Connors.

Currently, Lacoste is a global brand that sponsors many top tennis pros, outfitting them with their timeless and classic sporting wear. Novak Djokovic, Roberto Bautista Agut, Benoit Paire, Pablo Cuevas, and Jeremy Chardy all hit the courts in designs that carry on Rene Lacoste’s legacy of great style and clean lines.

Watch the video: 23 августа 2021 г. (January 2022).