How does one make a Lacoste polo shirt even more fancy and expensive? By getting rid of the little crocodile.
“There was a sharp intake of breath when I showed executives the idea,” said graphic designer Peter Saville, who was brought on to design a limited-edition collection of shirts for the brand’s 80th anniversary and who decided it would be a good idea to get rid of the little Lacoste crocodile. “It challenges all the rules of brand culture. [But] they’ve done it, and they’ve put full resources behind it.”
We like to think Saville was inspired by Lois Lowry’s Anastasia books, where the loose threads from having ripped a little crocodile off a shirt was the surest sign of a character’s coolness. In this case, though, the crocodile isn’t entirely gone, just deconstructed. The new limited edition collection of Lacoste shirts, which comprises 160 shirts—80 for men and 80 for women—all in size 4, is identified by little embroidered green spots where the crocodile should be. All the logoless shirts have different crocodile spots “on which the brand’s iconic crocodile logo is replaced by green embroidery in various forms, from erratic squiggles to a rough outline suggesting the animal’s absence, instead of its presence,” according to WWD.
“They still look like Lacoste shirts even if they don’t have a crocodile on them,” said Saville. “It’s about requisitioning the mainstream to translate an idea that is not about selling.”
Speaking of selling, the special limited-edition collectors’ shirts cost $547 and will go on sale starting November 15. A “commercial edition” of sixteen shirts, eight each for men and women, will also be produced and sold as well, and those will still run $182 apiece.