The Iconic Polo

The polo inventor

The very first cotton polo shirt was invented in 1933 by René Lacoste. Resilient yet light and airy, it was made from an entirely new fabric, petit piqué. The secret to its creation was a revolutionary knitting technique.

Heritage

The story

The story behind the original polo shirt

innovation means daring to take risks

René Lacoste, a daring innovator

How to provide tennis players with the greatest freedom of movement? René Lacoste found the perfect inspiration by carefully examining the attire of a skilled polo player by the name of Lord Cholmondeley. He then designed a truly revolutionary shirt with a buttoned neckline and short sleeves. Tennis players at that time were accustomed to rolling up their thick shirt sleeves to get a little relief, but René Lacoste’s invention would give them absolute freedom of movement.

Heritage

L.12.12

L stands for Lacoste, 1 because it's totally unique, 2 was the factory code to say short sleeved, 12 for the winning prototype chosen.

The Original Polo Shirt

René Lacoste teamed up with loose-knit fabric expert André Gillier to fine-tune the design of his first polo shirts. Together, they created the famous piqué cotton – lightweight yet sturdy and breathable to let the body breathe while looking smart. Being a perfectionist, René Lacoste tested the first series of polo shirts himself, in search of any detail that could improve the design. In 1933, the Lacoste polo shirt was ready, and branded with the iconic crocodile.

A code name

L Stands for Lacoste
1 because it’s totally unique
2 was the factory code to say short sleeved
12 for the winning prototype chosen by René Lacoste

Timeless Elegance

René Lacoste broke away from the traditional tenniswear codes. Without disrupting the established etiquette, he introduced a new kind of practical yet elegant fashion. That's the concept behind his polo shirts. They're as smart looking as they are comfortable and practical. They're elegant and an absolute pleasure to wear. For Lacoste, these two concepts are far from being incompatible.

Heritage

Polo Gallery

Travel through time and discover how our polo shirt has been revisited and redesigned throughout the years to stay in tune with the changing times.

The polo throughout the years.

Elegant yet comfortable, the polo shirt invented by René Lacoste has been constantly updated and also re-designed occasionally by the world’s most renowned designers to stay in tune with the changing times, and have a little fun with the icon. Without ever losing its original and totally unique identity.

Our first polos

The original polo shirts featuring iconic brand codes.

Our collector polos

The polo shirt reinterpreted by the world’s most renowned designers.

Our graphic polos

The polo shirt featuring a variety of graphic designs.

Savoir Faire

The Making Of

Since 1933, the Lacoste polo shirt has been manufactured and assembled by hand at Troyes, the French capital of textiles, preserving a savoir-faire unique to the brand.

3 Steps

The Lacoste polo is manufactured in three steps, which combine rigorous testing with traditional savoir faire to produce the perfect shirt.

Step One

Knitting

The polo shirt is made from the finest cotton fibres available woven into our unique piqué fabric, providing flexibility, resistance and softness.

The Materials

The cotton fibre used to make the Lacoste polo is one of the most flexible and resistant in the world. Each batch is tested to ensure it meets the highest quality standards. Only the best cotton can produce the lightweight, yet sturdy and breathable petit piqué fabric.

Read more about the Petit Piqué

The Process

The same batch of cotton is used to produce each polo shirt. The cotton is then carefully knitted on several different looms.

It takes 2 to 3 hours to prepare each loom.

Step Two

Dyeing

In 1951, the first colour range for the Lacoste cotton polo imbued the iconic shirt with a new and vibrant optimism to match its relaxed, elegant style. Today, the Lacoste polo is available in over 40 different shades.

The Exact Shade

Dyes are mixed for nine hours to create a rich chromatic palette. The amount of dye used differs from one colour to the next – darker colours need more dye and lighter colours need less. This difference explains the very slight change in texture between a light polo and a dark polo.

40 COLOURS

After dyeing, the cloth is exposed to strong natural light for 2000 hours.

Step Three

Craftmanship

Each polo shirt is handcrafted by 27 different people. This attention to detail is an essential part of the brand's savoir-faire and its pursuit of excellence.

The crocodile

The iconic crocodile logo, originally worn by René Lacoste on his blazer, is carefully embroidered onto each shirt by hand.

1400 stitches of embroidery
are needed for each 22mm crocodile.

Elegance is … creating simplicity … and making sure the details remain discreet.
René Lacoste

The Collars

The ribbing on the collar is a key element of the iconic Lacoste polo shirt. This French touch is manufactured with a strong attention to detail: each collar is checked by hand and loose threads are manually removed using a special needle.

The mother-of-pearl button

Every single button is manually placed in the sewing machine to ensure that it is stitched the right way up. This attention to detail is intrinsic to the making of the Lacoste polo.

Petit piqué

The Making Of

Petit piqué is a unique cotton textile invented by René Lacoste for the polo shirt. Made of a finely knitted mesh, petit piqué combines comfort and elegance

On the court

Petit Piqué revolutionized tennis attire. The new textile allowed freedom of movement and ease of play.

Read more about the origins of the polo shirt

Petit piqué

The thread

Petit piqué is made from the highest quality cotton. The fibres are chosen for their softness, resistance and purity.

20 km of thread is needed to make one L.12.12 polo, size 4

Length of the thread

Petit piqué uses longer cotton threads than usual fabrics. This creates a material that is stable and resistant, while light and airy.

Two-thread stitching

The same batch of cotton is used to produce each polo shirt. The cotton is then carefully woven on several different looms.

Petit piqué

The Knit

Petit piqué cotton is lightweight, resistant and elegant. The secret to this unique textile is an innovative knitting technique, developed and perfected by René Lacoste and André Gillier.

The Process

The cotton threads are tightly knitted to create thousands of small cells which allow air to pass through. This unique technique makes petit piqué a highly breathable fabric.

The Mesh

The cells of the cotton weave have a distinctive v-shape. Together they create the mesh-like appearance of petit piqué and give the Lacoste polo its unique texture.

180,000 needles are used every year to make Petit Piqué cotton.

Petit piqué

The Feel

The Lacoste polo combines the lightness, durability and flexibility of Petit Piqué cotton with simple, elegant lines that free the body.

Self Confidence in Motion

Wearing a polo provides an enhanced feeling of comfort and elegance combined with ease of movement.

Different Style

The polo comes in various styles and fits, but every style has a point in common: a feeling of lightness.

Read more about polo fits