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The Story of The Crocodile


The crazy story of the crocodile

Don't you know the amazing story behind the iconic Lacoste crocodile? Thanks to the magic of images generated by artificial intelligence and a new text that takes us back to the heart of the year 1923, here it is.

story of the crocodile
René Lacoste à 19 ans

The vocation of Rene Lacoste

Rene Lacoste is at the age of big decisions. At the beginning of 1923, at the age of 19, he chose to stop his studies to devote himself fully to tennis. It therefore now goes from tournament to tournament. Already winner of the French championship on indoor courts, he shines at Wimbledon, in doubles, alongside champion Jean Borotra. When he returns home, an important telegram awaits him.

La victoire de René Lacoste à Deauville

The last step

The telegram in question is a summons to play the next match of the French Davis Cup team, the final of the European zone matches against Spain. In case of victory, it will be necessary to leave for the United States to face the winning team of the American zone. The stakes are high. But René Lacoste is not afraid of much. In Deauville, in front of an excited crowd, he won his two singles and put his team on the road to victory. America, here it is!

A stone's throw from the United States

Crossing the Atlantic takes 7 days. To pass the time, René Lacoste and his teammates train on the wooden deck of the liner France*. In the middle of the crossing, the young player also befriends the owner of a department store in San Francisco, who introduces him to mah-jong, a Chinese board game. Surprisingly, this will inspire René Lacoste his very first invention, a travel mah-jong table.

René Lacoste's Atlantic crossing
René Lacoste's Atlantic crossing
René Lacoste's Atlantic crossing

An American thunderbolt

For René Lacoste, the discovery of New York is a revelation. The skyscrapers that grow in the city impress him. The new stadium in Forest Hill, Queens, east of New York, captivates him. The game of the American champion Helen Wills too. René Lacoste understands that tennis, his sport, is a much more powerful entertainment than he could have imagined. This only reinforces his ambition to reach the heights.

René Lacoste in New York
René Lacoste et la valise en crocodile

A very special suitcase

The game against Australia is approaching, the French players head for Boston. For four days, they fine-tune the final settings on the court and take advantage of their free time to walk around town. During one of these walks, Lacoste stops in front of the window of a luggage shop, as if hypnotized by a crocodile-shaped suitcase. With a smile, he says to his coach: “If I win my match against the Australians, you offer it to me! » Deal.


René Lacoste, the crocodile

The match against Australia turns out badly. Valiant and courageous, René Lacoste still lost his first match. Then the defeats follow. Australia won the match 4-1 but the journalists covering the event hailed the tenacity of the young Frenchman. Made aware of the story of the crocodile suitcase, they make the connection. In the articles, René Lacoste is renamed for the very first time “the crocodile”… This nickname will never leave him. It will even soon become a logo. Nobody knows it yet, but it's the beginning of another incredible story.

Crocodile addict?

Rene Lacoste. Behind the scenes of the label. Discover everything you've never been told.