Lacoste's new creative approach explained by its president
On January 6, Lacoste announced the departure of its creative director Louise Trotter, who had been in charge since 2018. At the time, the former creative director had taken over from Felipe Oliveira Baptista. This time, no one will be taking over from the British designer. The creation will be entrusted to a "Collaborative Studio" according to the MF Brands group's powerhouse. To learn more about this new approach, FashionNetwork.com asked Thierry Guibert, president of Lacoste, for more details on the brand's creative strategy.
"Four years is a fairly classic collaboration time between a brand and a creative director," says the executive who has been running the brand since 2015. "Louise has done a remarkable job on the design of the collections and the development of a number of segments such as women's. She has also done a lot of work on materials as well as on the colour palette. And the brand's results today are a tribute to her."
While Lacoste has not shown its collections at Paris Fashion Week since October 2021, the reason for the designer's departure is not due to her performance according to Thierry Guibert, who specified (in an interview to be published this January 13 by FashionNetwork.com) that the brand achieved over 2.5 billion euros in turnover in 2022. For the director, this is an alignment with the expectations of its consumers.
"We have massively reconquered the Gen Z and Millenials. And we have developed a number of collaborations and initiatives, such as UNDW3, which have also made us aware of the fact that we have many creative communities around us. It's a wealth of creativity. The question arose: isn't the future strategy for Lacoste to rely on these communities? This would allow us to continue the adventure in a different way. I believe that winning premium or luxury brands must rely on creativity but also on influence. Influence alone is often very short term and quite devastating in the long term. Creativity alone is also problematic because currently influence allows brands to emerge with consumers. Our approach is to combine the two. We have to focus on a combination of creativity and influence. A creative director is often focused on their own creations. And working with other creatives is sometimes difficult. I think we need to break free from this limitation and give a voice to creative people of all kinds to accompany us while keeping in line with our general vision for Lacoste."
These groups, artists or creative people will bring their vision and their network to projects supervised by the Lacoste studio, which currently has about fifty people. In the next few weeks, a studio director is due to arrive at the label's headquarters in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.
"She will be the conductor between the creative part of the brand and our communities and creative groups. I think that this programme, over the next three to four years, will bring us an even higher level of creativity," says Guibert. "For example, for Lacoste's 90th anniversary this year, we're going to draw on our communities around the world to create a series of events. They have the capacity to imagine what Lacoste could be tomorrow. Then we have creative people who are close to the brand. They will never be designers for the brand but partners with whom we will work. For example, we will certainly work again with Tyler the Creator, who is involved in music, fashion and film."
Lacoste has already offered artists the opportunity to reinterpret its DNA, not only with Tyler the Creator in 2019 with Golf Le Fleur, but also with Friends With You, Jeremyville and Jean-Michel Tixier in 2020, as well as fashion photographer Julien Boudet or working in collaboration with the singer Bruno Mars and his label Ricky Regal.
By initiating operations in different areas of the world, Lacoste intends to better resonate its proposals with the image of Lacoste in these regions, but also to work on a targeted proposal, like last October during a Lacoste event, dedicated to its women's offer and with many international female influencers, in Los Angeles. The brand therefore wishes to take control of its calendar. To the point of skipping Fashion Weeks?
"Our idea today is to free ourselves from these statutory moments that can sometimes be a little static," says its president. "We believe that creativity must be able to express itself outside of Fashion Weeks. However, this does not mean that we will not come back. It is likely that we will participate in Fashion Week, in Paris or elsewhere."
This year, 2023, which will see the brand celebrate its 90th anniversary, will be a great opportunity to test this new vision for Lacoste and the potential of this more international approach, with many announced but still secret events.
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