Lacoste is a French clothing company that sells high-end clothing, footwear, perfume, leather goods, watches, eyewear, and most famously polo shirts. In recent years, Lacoste has introduced a home line of sheeting and towels. The company can be recognised by its green crocodile logo.
René Lacoste founded La Chemise Lacoste in 1933 with André Gillier, the owner and president of the largest French knitwear manufacturing firm at the time. They began to produce the revolutionary tennis shirt Lacoste had designed and worn on the tennis courts with the crocodile logo embroidered on the chest.
In 1951, the company began to expand as it branched from "tennis white" and introduced colour shirts. In 1952, the shirts were exported to the United States and advertised as "the status symbol of the competent sportsman," influencing the clothing choices of the upper-class. It is still one of the most popular brands in the United States, sporting the "preppy wardrobe".
More recently, Lacoste's popularity has surged due to the contracts between Lacoste and several young tennis players, including American tennis stars Andy Roddick and John Isner, French rising young prospect Richard Gasquet, and Swiss Olympic gold medalist Stanislas Wawrinka. Lacoste has also begun to increase its presence in the golf world, where noted two time Masters Tournament champion José María Olazábal and Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie have been seen sporting Lacoste shirts in tournaments.
In September 2010, Christophe Lemaire stepped down and Felipe Oliveira Baptista succeeded him as the creative manager of Lacoste. The company was bought by Swiss family-held group Maus Frères in November 2012.