September 07, 2007
Ralph, Valentinothis seems to be a year of auspicious anniversaries in fashion. To mark Lacoste's 75th, creative director Christophe Lemaire took the path of least resistance, back to the label's Biarritz roots. People in that part of France are fond of an old, tennis-like ball game called Basque pelote. So the show's set was a pelote court, and the first all-white looks had an appropriately vintage feel, worn with Basque-red cummerbunds and espadrilles to underline the regional story. René Lacoste's croc was enlarged and embroidered tone-on-tone on a linen jacket's breast pocketan inescapable but subtle nod to brand heritage.
Lacoste still means tennis, especially this week when the company's box at the U.S. Open was a fashion hot spot, but Lemaire has managed to extend the association with intimations of other leisurely pursuits. Though a sense of the past lingered in the barely there colors of cotton jackets and camp shirts (like much-loved items faded by endless summers), the graphic crispness of wide-striped navy-and-white polos had a nautical zip. While it's an incontrovertible fact that polo shirts and jeans will never be the stuff of an unforgettable fashion show, Lemaire can at least make his audience think summery thoughts.