Izod’s Lacoste’s U.S. Sales Up Over 1000% In Last Five Years

Philippe Lacoste, grandson of Izod Lacoste founder René Lacoste, spoke to Business Week recently.

What’s the story behind that alligator, logo?
It was the nickname of my grandfather, René Lacoste, who was a tennis champion who won three French Opens, two Wimbledons, and two U.S. Open titles.
In 1927 my grandfather made a bet with the captain of the French Davis Cup team, after they both saw a suitcase made from alligator skin in a Boston storefront. His captain promised to buy it for my grandfather if he won the next day’s match for the French team. René didn’t win the match, but in reporting it one newspaper said something like: “Young Lacoste didn’t win the game or the alligator-skin suitcase, but he certainly fought like an alligator.”
The name stuck with René, as he later continued to win matches and display his tenacity on court. So, René had a friend who embroidered the crocodile on his blazer, which he wore to the tennis courts.
René and his friend founded a company in 1933, marking the first time that a brand name appeared on the outside of an article of clothing.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Nick Pipitone says:

    Nice site. I work in advertising in Milwaukee, WI as a freelancer. Just wondering — aren’t izod and LaCoste two different things? LaCoste has their own stores and Izod has their own stores. I definitely have a perception that they are two different things. Do you know?

  2. Nick,
    Right you are! Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Obviously, I’m living in the 80s still.
    Here’s what I found…
    Vintage Treasures Galore says Izod and Lacoste broke ties and separated for good in 1993. Both companies still exist today. However, mysteriously you will not find any mention of the connection on the either the Izod or the Lacoste websites.

  3. tiehere says:

    i Like the lacoste lacosate is all my life cooooolllllllllllllllllllll

  4. tony ballard says:

    \in 1977 my friend wore the Izod alligator polo shirts. Recently I was watching Los Vegas with a young airman. Cain was wearing a Polo shirt with the alligator logo. I said that was a Izod shirt. He said that it was not.