In the age of athleisure, it’s always worth checking in with a label that virtually invented the category a long, long time ago. There’s a lot of talk about ‘authenticity’ these days so what could be more authentic than Lacoste?
It used to spend much of its time revisiting its heritage piece but under Felipe Oliveira Baptista it’s been more creative about interpreting that heritage and these days we usually get quirky takes on luxe streetwear rather than the clichés of the modern athleisure category (for which I am eternally grateful).
So what did we get this time? Baptista said ‘come fly with me’ as he gave us co-ed looks inspired by aviation, astronaut’s clothing and what he called “a quantum leap into the 90s”.
You see, label founder René Lacoste went on to join the aircraft industry after his tennis career and even created Air Equipement, a company that contributed to the development of the Concorde and Airbus programmes. Add in the fact that Baptista’s father himself was a pilot and it all adds up to a great back story for a collection.
But what this is really all about is, as he said, the 90s. The loose silhouette and the so-uncool-it’s-cool styling screamed about the influence of a decade that’s made a surprisingly frequent impact on many labels in recent years, despite it not being that long ago.
The 90s, Lacoste style mixes functionality with a touch of grunge and streetwear. We get his multiple takes on aspects of the astronaut’s suit with multiple pockets, gusseted pockets, knee and shoulder padding, sealed finishing touches and leather or cotton ribbing
The are reversible materials with one side made from waterproof nylon while the other is of wool and linen. And we get pieces finished with patches of contrasting colours, variations of matte and shine, and a mix of materials from leather to nylon, cotton, gabardine and tricotine, fleece and synthetic fur.
There’s a new lease of life for the large or small check brushed wool lumberjack shirt and oversize mohair cardigans reminiscent of the style worn by Kurt Cobain. Meanwhile baggy army-inspired trousers, that trail to the ground but with an elasticated waist. Baptista label calls it “a dandy’s version of track pants.”
And continuing the astronaut theme, iridescent prints, space artist Ron Miller reproductions (full moon, sunsets or Saturn) collide with purposefully dull colours like brown and slate that are lit-up by metallic effects and sparks of acidity – aniseed, ochre orange and scintillating lilac.
It’s usually my thing, but I like it. And while, unlike some collections this NYFW, it’s not being touted as the second coming; it’s got a lot of commercial appeal.