by Stephen Garner

The unapologetic modernity of the Front de Seine in Paris’ 15th district provides a striking backdrop for Lacoste’s autumn/winter 2021 collection designed by Louise Trotter.

Photographed by Sam Rock against its sweeping architectural landmarks, the season’s playful exchange of graphic sport codes and remixed classics appear in sharp relief. The impetus of an active lifestyle and the blur of movement between home, work, and play forms the basis of an interchangeable system of novel designs, as garments respond to the times with elegance, humor, and ease.

With a swatch card of bright shades grounded in muted neutrals, the collection tricks the eye with blown-up and shrunken proportions, unexpected fabrications, and the emergence of comic-like Lacoste characters. Like a cartoon, the signature house crocodile is reborn larger than life, as archive claw patches and bold croc heads create a new iconography alongside flaming tennis balls, a ‘tennis net’ shadow check, and an L-shaped varsity logo.

Quintessentially sporty, the concept of the tracksuit and twinset are subverted in multiple ways for men and women, as shirting, cardigans, and jogging pants are all cut in cotton piqué – the keystone material of the Lacoste polo shirt – to create subtly matching ensembles. Tailoring reflects the sartorial heritage of the brand founder René Lacoste, as the smooth enveloping pea coats, varsity jackets, overcoats, and trenches are tweaked for today with knit collars, bonding for bounce, and light nylon quilting.

Evolving the upcycled design process of recent seasons, shell suits, puffer coats, and quilted liners are reconstructed from a patchwork of vintage and deadstock Lacoste fabrics, creating new geometries in classic sport shapes. ‘Framis’ bonding drawstrings and oversized rope toggles further the athletic and engineered feel of garments, as do neoprene crop tops and sculpted shorts for women. Crisp unisex chinos feature elastic Velcro cuffs, polychrome leggings in neoprene and patched knit zip high above the ankle, and speed stripes echo the racing aesthetic of checkerboard jacquard polos and trims. Worn with embossed molded slides, 5-panel cotton piqué caps, and oversized rucksacks, they complete the season’s exercise in sport style.