After 7 years of serving on the board of the family brand, Sophie Lacoste Dournel, newly appointed Chairman, finally has made her visions seen throughout. Celebrating the 80th anniversary this year, LACOSTE continues to thrive as a worldwide leading brand, while holding partnerships with some incredible artists. We chatted with Sophie and got the scoop on the in’s and out’s of the family brand and how they are giving back to South Florida by helping conserve the Everglades.
Did the same designer who’s been working in recent years with LACOSTE design this collection?
We’ve had several designers working with us, and some of them are the Campana brothers. They are two Brazilian brothers who became famous in the beginning of the 2000s. They were making designer chairs out of assorted plush toys, but one of them was made with only crocodiles, so we noticed it. We thought the crocodile chair was so nice, it’s really lively and it speaks about the habitat of the crocodiles.
Tell me about the limited collection.
The new collection is very lively, very colorful, very Brazilian. It’s a reflection of the sushi project that they have. There is an infinity symbol and a round one for harmony. We wanted to launch this here because we support worldwide projects to protect crocodiles, and specifically one here in the everglades. It’s the least we can do.
Who designs the rest of the year?
We have a new designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista. His first collection was last summer. And because of 2012 for us was a real women year we really wanted to put a highlight on the women collection, and Felipe is a Portuguese fashion designer and joined us to really work on the expression for women for LACOSTE.
How did you reintroduce the brand in America?
I think the big thing about America was the polo shirt that we made with the stretch material, which was really interesting for women. And also we made that fit for men and that was a very good way to reenter the American market and now it’s our number one market. We call it the “12.12,” so for us, 12.12 is a big day!
People seem to be making a big deal out of the fact Lacoste isn’t in French hands anymore.
It is a very French company, but very globalized. The brand has been everywhere in the world for 40 years almost. The link between America and the company and my family is very strong because my grandfather won the Davis Cup in the 20’s. My grandmother came to America to play golf as well. My aunt won the US Open in the 60’s, so it’s a real friendship story between America and France. We’re a French company but very opened up to the world.
You have many licensees, but who is your main partner?
Our main partner is Devanlay who is doing all the clothing. The Maus family has been with us for 15 years, so they’ve been our partnership for a long time; they’ve been doing a great job.
How do you keep track of all of the partnerships?
The main job of the company is to coordinate all the licenses, the glasses, shoes, bags, watches and jewelry require partners. My uncle always said that LACOSTE should be there for the happy moments of life. So were here to coordinate to have the unity of the brand of course to make all the licenses work together.