Acid Jazz. A movement and a fashion of spontaneous origin. The term acid jazz aids in the recovery of much material from periods past.
Acid Jazz. A movement and a fashion of spontaneous origin. In September 1988, with what many will remember as the second “Summer of Love” gone, after the first and classic one of 1967, Acid was the term most in vogue. Just like punk, zazou, swing, and hip hop, it indicates at the same time both everything and nothing. These words are the empty square necessary to play the game, as in Chinese checkers.
Specifically, the term acid jazz aids in the recovery of much material from periods past. These would otherwise be in the hands of solitary enthusiasts. For deejays like Gilles Peterson and Edward Piller, in search of valid alternatives for listeners tired of the monotony of Acid House, it was an opportunity to make people dance while mixing Gil Scott-Heron and Aaron Neville with unobtainable and rare discs by obscure jazz vocalists along with Betty Carter and Etta Jones and much else under a new label.
Dress codes also became fresh and neat. Shoes could be sneakers or fake crocodile loafers, without worry; polo shirts could be those with open-work by Duffer of St. George or the surfwear-inspired ones by Stussy and Quicksilver; raincoats by Burberrys or ones of suede bought second-hand: but everything was always mixed with extreme taste and with respect for the traditions of the past. In this sense, it was a genuine post-modern style.
The origin begins with René Lacoste (1904-1996) during his tennis career he wore a small crocodile embroidered on the pocket of his jacket and he was called “the Crocodile.” Maybe due to his fierceness or perhaps because a certain bet with his team captain where the prize happened to be a suitcase made in alligator skin. In any case, Lacoste embraced the name to the point of getting the crocodile embroidered on his blazer and as simple as that, the tennis myth came along with a clothing legend.
The Lacoste Polo is Born
Officially in 1926 Lacoste, a practical man, adopted the short-sleeved shirt for both on and off the tennis court. Since then, his style has inspired the so-called functional elegance. In 1933 René Lacoste retired from tennis, founded La Société Chemise Lacoste with André Gillier, then designed and decided began to produce a button-neck short-sleeve sweater in white piqué cotton, with a small green crocodile embroidered on the left side of the chest. The garment was immediately successful as sports clothing, especially in tennis and golf, thanks to having a longer back than front, so as to remain well tucked inside the pants even after large or brisk movements.
In 1941 he was appointed as President of the Fédération Française de Tennis, meanwhile he infused colorful life to his clothing line with a range of tones on the polo shirts, in addition sneakers and the first children collection were conceived.
In 1963, Bernard Lacoste took over the management of the company from his father René. Significant company growth was seen under Bernard’s management. Also, at this time Lacoste jerseys were manufactured in 4 colors, in 1967 in 21, and were equally suited to men, women and children. By the end of 1963 around 300,000 products were sold annually.
Success and diffusion arrived during the 1960s when sporting fashion became more popular. The brand reached its height of popularity in the US during the late 1970s and became the signature 1980s “preppy” wardrobe item, even getting mentioned in Lisa Birnbach‘s Official Preppy Handbook of 1980.
Creativity and innovations have been always center points at Lacoste, therefore in 1970 Ruben Torres was appointed as fashion designer. He had many outstanding achievements during this period, including the creation of the memorable advertising campaign “Crocodiles”, the first boutique on Avenue Victor Hugo, Paris and the fragrances collection embodying the joie de vivre feeling characteristic of the brand.
In 1986 Guy Paulin is appointed Fashion Designer. The world was changing quickly and in 1996 the first Lacoste website was launched under the direction of Gilles Rosies as Fashion designer, appointed in 1994. At this time, the company also began to introduce other products into their line including shorts, perfume, optical and sunglasses, tennis shoes, deck shoes, walking shoes, watches, and various leather goods.
Lacoste is known for their crocodile logo plus several other key DNA elemnts. This includes stripes, color blocking, piping, rib knit sweaters, punch (tennis racket handle material)，monochrome, and net pattern. The style has always been for people with a preppy wardrobe who play a lot of tennis or golf.
Creative Director: Christophe Lemaire
In 2000 the new creative director was Christophe Lemaire, a “student” ofChristian Lacroix. He had the task of introducing the brand towards modernity, though remaining linked to its sport roots. He took over from Gilles Rosier, who had widened the crocodile’s horizon of sportswear. But it was until the arrival of Christophe Lemaire, that Lacoste’s first fashion show was presented in New York City, 2003.
Also, an agreement was signed with Samsonite for the manufacture and distribution of leather goods. The diversification is transverse compared to the other three areas of business: activewear, which represents 20%, sportswear with 60% and Club clothing. By 2001 consolidated turnover was €850 million, +8% compared to 2000: 75% was represented by clothing.
In May of 2002 Lacoste eyewear aimed at the Brazilian market. The Group L’Amy, which produces and distributes the crocodile’s glasses, signed a distribution and production license agreement with Technol Group, a South-American eyewear producer. Also, this year 600,000 pieces of leather goods were sold, generating a turnover of €10 million.
In January of 2003 the company opened a store on Fifth Avenue, New York. By the end of 2003 the brand is distributed in 120 countries and has 718 own-brand boutiques, 433 in Europe, 156 in Asia and 129 in America, most of them franchised. 65% of Lacoste is in the hands of the Lacoste family, now in the second generation; the remaining 35% is owned by the French company Devanlay, which also produces and distributes clothing. In the last ten years, the annual growth rate has been constant around 8-12%, transforming a single-manufactured brand, the shirt, into a lifestyle. The shirt, however, is the best selling item and is still produced as it was originally, using 38.63 miles of Egyptian or Peruvian cotton and mother-of-pearl buttons. The Italian market ranks third for importance, with about €70 million of turnover.
Lacoste relaunches its “1963 tennis shoe” with contemporary colours and patterns. The shoes style is named “RENÉ” in tribute to their inventor. Then, in 2006 the René Lacoste foundation is created. Its mission is to support and fund projects for children to transmit key values through sport.
In 2008 Lacoste celebrates its 75th anniversary. To celebrate its 75th anniversary, Lacoste looked back on its tennis history by fast-forwarding 75 years to the year 2083 and how tennis will be played in the future. Through a 3D TV, A space age tennis player showed off his new moves on a new court. Meanwhile, Lacoste released another video to explored champion tennis player, Andy Roddick’s vision of tennis past present and future. Other videos explored the connection Lacoste brought to the game of tennis of the past and tennis of the future through its present as a sportswear powerhouse.
Creative Director: Felipe Oliveira Baptista
In 2010 Portugese designer, Felipe Oliveira Baptista, becomes the new fashion designer of Lacoste. He offers an essential reinterpretation of the brand values.
Also that year, Lacoste creates the Lacoste lab in collaboration with fashion designer Christophe Pillet to promote innovation.
Then, in 2011 Lacoste opens new flagship stores, designed by Christophe Pillet, in Paris and Hamburg. Also at this time, 53 million Lacoste products have been sold through 1,165 stores and over 2000 departments stores across 114 countries. The brand claims, two crocodiles were sold every second.
Acquired By Maus Freres
In November 2012 Lacoste was bought outright by Swiss family-held group Maus Frères. Also, for the first time, Lacoste opens a boutique in Paris entirely focused on women. Next to that, they open their first store in Shibuya, Tokyo, followed by Miami and a new flagship store in Knightsbridge, London. The brand re-strategized their social media and now the facebook page attracts 10 million followers.
80th Anniversary Logo
In 2013 for Lacoste’s 80th birthday, they released an anniversary logo along with an exclusive collection of high-end wares. The items in collaboration with Maison Francaises range from leather goods, to jewelers and bakeries, producing everything from crocodile duffels to eclairs. The whole set goes on display at Colette in Paris starting June 10th.
In 2014 Lacoste is named the official partner for the Olympic and Paralympic French teams.
In 2016 Lacoste opens a new flagship store in the World Trade Center, New York, followed by one in Paris.
In February 2017 in honour of the brand’s 85th birthday, Lacoste announces that they will swap New York Fashion week for Paris fashion week for the SS18 collection. Also, tennis player Novak Djokovic was named brand ambassador for Lacoste. This obligation includes a five-year contract and he will appear in advertising campaigns.
Today the brand is continually evolving, is always fresh and dynamic as his founder. Now in an environment where the “casual Friday” occurs almost everyday, this is transformed for good into “casual elegance” and thrilling collaborations like the latest between Lacoste and Supreme are happening as a response to the changing times.
The Italian luxury goods manufacturer of bags was established in 1967 in Vicenza, Veneto by Michele Taddei and his wife Laura Braggion.
After divorcing Michele, and marrying Vittorio Moltedo, Laura remained the sole owner. The first workshop began in a restored villa in Montebello Vicentino, home to some of the greatest artisans and craftspeople.
The bags, in soft leather and even today all handmade, are typical of the company’s production and have always been highly fashionable. They are known for their noble, elegant and emphasized detail of their leather goods.
They developed a distinctive weaving technique, by taking the intrecciato technique, typically only applied to clothes, and were the first to apply it to leather. After this, their leather goods were considered a delicacy. This was revolutionary, and till this day, is the most recognizable element in the brand DNA.
They are considered a lead representative of Italian quality and elegance with technique passed down through generations.
The first opening in New York
Later, the firm opened a single-brand shop in New York in 1971. It was the first of the Italians to be on Madison Avenue. Clients Jackie Onassis and Mary Tyler Moore helped launch the new brand store.
Twelve more single-brand shops would later open in America, plus boutiques in Paris, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Milan, Rome, Venice, and Florence, along with 35 shops in Japan. In 1998 there was a prêt-à-porter Collection inspired by American sportswear which made its début at Milano Collezioni in October of the following year.
In 2001 the company joined the Gucci Group, which a few months later, was acquired by PPR, now known as Kering. They reorganized their management structure and appointed a new creative director, Thomas Maier.
He decided to focus on the artisanal production by using the brands iconic technique of weaving “Intrecciato”. Moreover, he chose to remove the logo from the products. He kept the original brand DNA, but added minimalism and expanded the product range into fine jewelries, sunglasses, and home collections.
Since then, they have turned into a brand that emphasizes the lifestyle. The company had record revenues in 2002, especially in the fourth quarter, when it had a 90.5% increase in comparison to a diminished turnover for the other brands controlled by the Kering Group. In 2003 there was the Début of the unisex sunglasses produced for Bottega Veneta by Sàfilo.
In February 2005, Bottega Veneta presented its first women’s ready-to-wear runway show, and in June 2006, its first men’s runway show.
In April 2006, Bottega Veneta launched its first jewelry line, and started doing interior and furniture design. Later in 2006, the Luxury Institute of New York recognized Bottega Veneta as the most prestigious design house for the richest women of the United States.
In order to maintain their handmade tradition, they collaborated with once Artisa school, Scuola d’Arte Mestieri di Vicenza, and started a new school Scuola della Pelletteria, to educate the new generation of artisans.
New President and CEO
In 2009 Marco Bizzarri becomes the new president and CEO. He made a huge contribution to the economics and strengthened the performance of the company.
2 years later, in 2011, turnover reached 6.8 million euros, with a 33.7% increase in one year. Also, profits reached 2 million euro, a 57.1% increase, compared to 2010.
“I am so proud of these numbers. In this way we are able to achieve an incensement of economic growth, but at the same time we kept the quality of our product and manufacturing technique.” – Marco Bizzarri
Then in 2016 the value of the brand officially reached one billion euros.
Currently, Bottega Veneta is celebrating their 50th birthday and Maiers 15th anniversary at the house. So, they launched a limited edition collection of handmade bags that represent their heritage in a contemporary way.
The brand is performing and their situation is strong. They have 255 directly operated stores, €1.173 millions in revenue, with 40% of their profit coming from Asia Pacific, and seen in thousands of multi-brand stores.
Today, the brand stands for low profile elegance. There are no shiny accessories, or visible logo. Their workshop remains in the original restored villa in Montebello Vicentino.
Raf Simons (1968). Belgian fashion designer who grew up on the Belgian-Dutch border and studied industrial design in Genk. He started as a furniture designer in 1991 for the design studio of Walter Van Beirendonck in Antwerp.
From here, Walter taught him the basics of the trade, and meet Linda Loppa, director of the Royal Académie des Arts, which changed his life. With Linda’s father, who is a well-known dressmaker in Belgium, he produced his first signed collection. Later, in 1995 he launched his brand and started to create history.
In January 2003, with Francesco Bonami, Simons curated the exhibition Il Quarto Sesso (The Fourth Sex) about the excesses of adolescence. It was presented as part of the Pitti Immagine Discovery programme.
Then, in June 2005, Simons celebrated ten years in business with a runway event, the video installation Repeat and the monograph Raf Simons Redux at the 68th Pitti Immagine Uomo in Florence.
In 2005 The designer presents his new second line, Raf by Raf Simons. With this collection, the designer returns to the distinctive traits of his style in a new and modern key. A sort of basic at lower prices than his first line.
Later, in July, Simons was appointed creative director of Jil Sander and planned to make his debut in January 2006 with his first menswear collection. He took over from Jil Sander after the falling out between the designer and the Prada Group, who owns the company. 2012 was the end of his reign at Jil Sander, and he presented his last collection that left the audience crying and himself very emotional. Then, he pressed on and officially became the creative director of Dior.
Also a special moment, is the debut of his first Diorcollection. He mesmerized the audience with an air of beauty that only the combination of Raf Simons and Dior could bring along. In the beautiful film, Dior and I, there is beautiful moment when he cries on the terrace with his right hand, Pieter Mulier, as he realizes that he is about to showcase his first Dior haute couture show. The whole film is a feast of love, dedication, humility, and respect for the petites mains of the house.
First Dior Haute Couture Show
Raf Simons legacy, especially for his men’s label, along with Jil Sanders and Christian Dior, is nothing but magical. While each brand had a very distinct identity, values, and personality, Simons was metamorphosing from a rebellious youthfulness, to sharp minimalism, and finally romantic perfectionism at Dior.
Summer 2016: Creative Director of Calvin Klein
In summer 2016 it was officially announced that Raf Simons left Dior and became the new creative director of American fashion brand, Calvin Klein. He explains why he left Dior for Calvin Klein,
“To be really honest, the attraction and the reason why I came to Calvin is because it has the highest and the lowest and everything in between, so you can reach out to everybody. Which, in high fashion, is not always easy. It was not something that was possible at Dior, for example. It is possible at Calvin Klein.”
First Calvin Klein Collection
CFDA 2017 Designer of the Year
In June of 2017 Raf Simons became the second designer in the history of American fashion to win Designer of the year at the CFDA awards for both the men’s and womenswear categories.
Simons is only second to Calvin Klein, the designer and fashion house that Simons reins as the chief creative officer, who had the same double honor in 1993. The two men won the award at almost the same age; Klein at 51 and Simons at 49 years old.
Simons big win is quite the welcome from the American Fashion Elite. The award comes at a time where his first Calvin Klein collection, due the fall of 2017, is the most anticipated collection of all fashion houses. The fashion world is anxious to see Simons vision for Calvin Klein.