Tennis has undergone a fashion renaissance of sorts in recent years. Thanks to some unexpected collaborations and a loosening of the strict sartorial guidelines, outfits and footwear on the court have become more experimental and, in certain cases, groundbreaking. As a consequence – or perhaps because of it – fashion labels have been turning to tennis and borrowing cues from its pared-down, elegant aesthetic.

Lacoste, however, has been there throughout this entire evolution. In the game for almost 90 years, its longevity as an apparel purveyor outweighs that of most fashion brands by several decades. Still today, Lacoste remains a dominant force in the sport – world champion Novak Djokovic is its current frontman – and has, simultaneously, moved into the lifestyle space and become a fully-fledged fashion brand.

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Despite this expansion, the brand with the crocodile badge has never lost its connection to tennis. The polo shirt, for example, was first introduced in 1933 by tennis champion and the brand’s founder René Lacoste as a lightweight alternative to the stiff longsleeved designs worn during play at the time. To this day, the collared garment with its signature embroidered crocodile remains a cornerstone of each season’s offering.

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For 2020, Lacoste is paying tribute to its tennis heritage not with polo shirts, but with the release of three performance sneakers from its archive. Each shoe hails from a different period in its history, starting in 1963 with the founder’s eponymous low-profile vulc, the René. The René encapsulated the spirit of its creator and of the brand. It is elegant, understated, and timeless. Referencing the original oxford construction, the sneaker features a herringbone weave canvas upper with green embroidered detailing and a vulcanized rubber sole.

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Jump forward 20 years and Lacoste released the G80, a built-out performance shoe designed to be worn on rubber courts. The reissue is an authentic replica of the original 1987 silhouette and features the same nubuck and mesh upper, as well as the rubber lace tag, which was included to indicate what court surface the shoe was designed to play. The only update that differs from the original is the tread, which has been modernized to improve grip.

Finishing off the trio is the V-Ultra, a replica of the chunky Vortex model that was released in 2000. The leather sneaker features the same branding and perforation details as the original model and a bold sole typical of early millennial sneakers.

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The Heritage pack is a demonstration of what Lacoste does best: taking its tennis heritage into the lifestyle realm with clean, sophisticated designs, and finishing them off with the signature green crocodile.

The René, G80, and V-Ultra are available now online and at the following retailers: Shoez Gallery, Overkill, Titolo, Hanon, Oi Polloi, Holypopstore, Atmos, Pistacchio, and Guadalupe.

  • Photographer: Lara Ohl
  • Model: Isis @ M4 Models
  • Model: Mamadou @ Kult Models
  • Model: Wing @ CORE Artist Management
  • 1st Assistant: Hieronymus Ahrens
  • Stylist: Coco Roth
  • HMU: Aennikin
  • Set Designer: Studio Rifa
  • Creative: Dan Hart-Davies
  • Producer: Nikita Ono
  • Project Manager: Rachael Bigelow
Words by Lucy Thorpe