Roland-Garros and Lacoste, a 50-year collaboration

We take a look back at this wonderful partnership, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

50 ans Lacoste x Roland-Garros 2021©Archives Lacoste
 - Elodie Iriart

2021: From above, Roland-Garros stadium has been transformed. On the ground, the Lacoste brand, the tournament’s exclusive textile partner, is as popular as ever with spectators and, indeed, the general public. So much has changed over the last half-century. 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of this stylish and authentic collaboration. Fashion revolutions that have influenced the way people dress, both on and off court. In order to tell the story of Roland-Garros x Lacoste over the last five decades, we needed to do some research. Here we take a look back at the long-running legacy that is being celebrated this year at Roland-Garros!

René Lacoste 50 ans Roland-Garros©Ciaccia-Sport Vision

Rethinking the past and looking to the future.

A brief background: The Lacoste x Roland-Garros collections brighten up the courts, stands and streets with looks that combine elegance, sportswear and leisurewear. Roland-Garros and Lacoste make a wonderful pairing, epitomising sport, expertise and French elegance. For the last 50 years, their stunning collections have delved into tennis heritage and cultivated a shared desire for authenticity.  

About René Lacoste: Nicknamed the “Crocodile”, René Lacoste – alongside Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon and Henri Cochet – was one of the Mousquetaires, four legendary French tennis champions from the 1920s. Rooted in sport, the brand holds a very special place in its heart for tennis. Roland-Garros, where the “Crocodile” wore his very first polo shirt, is an unmissable sporting event that enables the brand to strengthen its bond with its original target audience. 

Roland-Garros Lacoste Rétro© La Chemise Lacoste-FFT. Veste de René Lacoste

The legend of tennis style

How did René Lacoste revolutionise tennis style and, at the same time, influence 1920s fashion? Always brimming with ideas, the “Crocodile” was the brains behind a number of innovations. The origin of the grip? It was him! Ball-throwing machine? Him! Metal racquets? Him again. Shock absorber? You guessed it… 

But, beyond revolutionising tennis equipment, he also broke the discipline’s dress codes and created the classic polo shirt! Fed up with the strict tennis uniform – comprised of a long-sleeved shirt, cufflinks, pleated trousers and a belted waist – René Lacoste dreamt of wearing less restrictive, more stylish clothes. Defying convention, he had a shirt made up and embroidered with the now-famous crocodile logo and called it the L.12.12. Eighty-eight years after this first piqué cotton shirt was created, it is still a must-have item in the tournament’s wardrobe, without aging a day. 

René Lacoste Henri Cochet©BNF-Rol

Lacoste x RG style

"It isn’t enough just to play, you have to master your own style,” said the “Crocodile”! 

Lacoste and Roland-Garros have followed this advice to the letter in every one of their co-branded collections! The collaboration between these two brands has given rise to a unique style of timeless sportswear. Every time, the collections blend vintage heritage with a fresh vibe, and all with a good dose of the “French touch”. The minimalist leisurewear items are always given a modern twist, adorned with iconic motifs and made from fabrics with a strong identity (piqué cotton, stripes, rib trimming). Every season, they draw inspiration from the sporty and technical DNA of tennis while adding a fresh twist to create key items for the sporting wardrobe. 

Parfum Lacoste L.12.12 Roland-Garros 2021

A fragrant celebration

What would you get if you blended Lacoste’s heritage and Roland-Garros’ prestige together in one bottle? A new fragrance with a surprising, fresh scent, that’s what! To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the collaboration between the Parisian Grand Slam and the crocodile brand, Lacoste have developed the limited-edition Roland-Garros L.12.12 perfume. An olfactory celebration that combines citrus fruits, green plants and enchanting clay, which awakens the senses and inspires joy and performance. 

It boasts a sparkling citrus top note blended with the unique undertone of clay (yes, clay!) that perfumiers Marie Salamagne and Anne Ayo created using a sample from the legendary  Philippe Chatrier court. 

A veritable ode to Roland-Garros, as well as smelling great, this perfume also looks the part! Its bottle features the polo shirt’s petit piqué pattern and is decorated with the iconic crocodile logo and an intertwined R and G. A copy of René Lacoste’s autograph endorses this new must-have scent.