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Lacoste

The second edition of the Supreme x Lacoste collaboration was announced on Monday and is shaping up to be even more popular than the first thanks to its velour pieces and spring-ready colors.

When the first partnership was announced back in March 2017, some were left confused and felt that Supreme’s venture with the tennis brand was a deep dive into uncharted territory. But as Supreme OG Ross Wilson outlined for Highsnobiety here, Supreme has actually been lowkey fucking with tennis for years.

The same goes for Lacoste and streetwear. While Lacoste has a reputation as a preppy French name that belongs to the country club rather than on the streets, the brand with the crocodile logo actually has a very solid history of streetwear collabs.

Lacoste has collaborated with the likes of French design studio M/M, who were tapped to reinterpret the brand’s famous logo for the FW17 season; America’s (and Uniqlo’s) favorite cartoon Peanuts on several occasions; and the International Union for Conservation of Nature for the recently announced Save Our Species collection.

But while those collaborations are no secret to anyone, there are also a number of Japanese Lacoste collaborations that might have flown under your radar. With tennis seeing a revival of sorts in Japan thanks to the influence of Uniqlo’s tennis-influenced range of basics apparel and Kei Nishikori — the only male Japanese tennis player to ever be ranked inside the top 5 in singles — flying the flag for the country, it makes sense that Lacoste taps into that area of the market.

こんにちは Tokyo!

A post shared by Kei Nishikori (@keinishikori) on

So, without further ado, we’ve decided to highlight the French sportswear brand’s best Japanese collaborations below.

Lacoste x BEAMS

Lacoste recently teamed up with Japanese label BEAMS on an SS18 collection which focused on timeless design, effortless style, and unmatched comfort.

The collaborative collection, which you can view above, is comprised of some of Lacoste’s classic silhouettes including polo shirts, long-sleeve T-shirts, and lightweight jackets, all of which can be copped in a variety of spring-ready colors.

Founded by Yo Shitara in 1976 in Tokyo’s Harajuku district, BEAMS grew from a small fashion chain to a department store with outlets all around the world. Products and brands that are top sellers at BEAMS in Japan tend to dictate taste overseas, such is the influence of Shiatra’s brand. In an interview with Nakamura Tatsuya, creative director of BEAMS, Business of Fashion describes the retailer as “authoritatively regarded as being a key influence in the ‘High Casual’ movement of their native market and beyond.”

Putting that influence and taste dictating ability to the test, BEAMS recently partnered with Champion to put fashion back into fitness with the sweat beret. In addition to working with established fashion brands like Lacoste and Champion, BEAMS doesn’t shy away from the peculiar, like this McDonald’s Big Mac merchandise it created in June 2017.

Lacoste x Junya Watanabe

Lacoste

COMME des GARÇONS’ Junya Watanabe launched a collaborative capsule with Lacoste in May 2017, in which he offered his own take on two of the clothing label’s classic fits.

Having reimagined a basic crewneck T-shirt to bear an oversized crocodile over the lowermost hemline, the capsule’s polo shirt saw Junya modify the timeless piece through the addition of monochromatic textured paneling, which wrapped around the design’s torso.

Watanabe is a mainstay in Japanese streetwear thanks to his penchant for pushing boundaries and creating unusually structured pieces using modern, technical materials. Last year, his partnership with The North Face made a huge impact, and was nominated for best collaboration in the Highsnobiety Crowns. Lacoste’s strategic alignment with Watanabe shows the French brand knows its streetwear and is way more adventurous than it sometimes lets on.

Lacoste x sacai

Founded by Chitose Abe, a designer who spent eight years at COMME des GARÇONS (first as a patternmaker and later under Junya Watanabe), sacai and Lacoste dropped a capsule in September 2017. Comprised of 15 of the French brand’s most iconic silhouettes, each piece was reimagined in sacai’s signature avant-garde style. The collection featured oversized, mismatched, and double-stitched polo shirts; sweaters; and dresses, some of which you can check out above.

That same month, sacai took over famed Parisian retailer colette, with the Lacoste collaboration being one of the main attractions on the redesigned floors of the store. Speaking to Vogue, Abe said of colette: “They were one of the first stores that picked up sacai when I first started the line and nobody had heard of it and they continue to show their support to this day.”

In addition to partnering with fellow Japanese brands like UNDERCOVER and Hender Scheme in the past, sacai used the colette takeover last year as a chance to partner with Tokyo jewelry brand Ambush and rework a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors.

sacai has made a name for itself through its unabashed designs that are described by AnOther Mag as “holding a message of female strength without the masculine overtly masculine aesthetic that is often considered integral for ‘successful’ women.”

Lacoste x BEAUTY & YOUTH

Lacoste

For the SS15 season, Japanese retailer BEAUTY & YOUTH UNITED ARROWS, a subsidiary of contemporary fashion label and select shop chain UNITED ARROWS, put its signature indigo spin on a series of six iconic Lacoste L1212 polo shirts.

Two polos were offered in all white, while the remaining four featured some kind of indigo color-blocking. Each of the pieces used quick-drying performance materials, staying true to Lacoste’s origins as a tennis brand, while the color-blocked designs revamped the polos for a more street-ready aesthetic.

Lacoste x nonnative

SS18 brought about a co-branded capsule by Lacoste and nonnative in which two iconic pieces from the French sportswear masters received a thoroughly modern makeover.

Bringing production to Japan, nonnative refashioned the silhouettes of the classic polo shirt and the essential tank top. The polo shirt body was widened for a more relaxed fit, while the collar was removed for a sleek, modern look. The tank top was almost an entirely new design featuring ribbed panels and was intended to be worn either on its own or paired with the polo as an inner layer. Both items feature dual branding and were available to purchase in black, navy, white and olive.

While the above Junya Watanabe collaboration was rather unexpected due to Lacoste’s penchant for keeping things simple — and Watanabe’s reputation for anything but — the nonnative x Lacoste collection made perfect sense. nonnative, based in Tokyo’s Nakameguro district, is known for reimagining military, sport, and workwear classics in a modern, non-flashy aesthetic.

Both stylish and functional, nonnative’s in-house pieces usually toe the line between casual and smart, which is seen in both design changes to the polo shirt.

Which is your favorite Japanese Lacoste collaboration? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments.

Next, read about why Mark Gonzalez is one of the most important figures in Supreme’s history here.

Footwear Staff Writer

My mum says I won’t win a Pulitzer writing about Supreme. She’s wrong.

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