La Chemise Lacoste – my father's legacy

(text originally published on July 10th, 2009, in blog THE LISBON TAILOR)

I think my dad has always been there for me more than most dads can be. Today still… as I’m about to get into my 30’s, he’s still the person with whom I’ve spent more hours holding hands, the one I went to the cinema with more often, and probably, with whom I’ve stayed longer watching a Lacoste window. I grew up watching my dad using and abusing that Crocodile and I still recall the day that, in the middle of Downtown, we bought my first polo shirt.


"You never really own a Patek Phillippe, you merely take care of it for the next generation". This is probably the nicest advertising slogan I know. Let truth be told, something that is good for a luxury watch will hardly apply to a piece of clothing. But in my group of friends, I’m not the only one having the privilege of wearing a Lacoste polo shirt that has already belonged to their mother or father. And I just can’t remember another kind of cotton piece that can be washed 20 times each summer and can still hold on to the same rhythm for 30 more years. But I’ll go further, just a little bit further… Since my teens, I’ve lost my fixation for brands and, above all, for the exhibition of its most distinctive elements. But there is one of those elements that has always resisted to my maturation – the Crocodile. I’ve never told this to anyone but I have a pair of corduroy trousers with the Crocodile stitched on, and when I wear them, every time I pass by a mirror, I always make sure that the pullover I’m wearing doesn’t hide my dear Crocodile. I don’t do it for the status (besides…the Crocodile can be found in a promenade in Saint-Tropez just as it can be seen on the toughest neighbourhoods in the outskirts of Paris); I do it because of a certain je ne sais quoi that I can’t find in me without it (after all, isn’t this the main goal of Marketing? Designing products with such attributes with which the consumer can feel identified?) For some reason, Lacoste is the most counterfeited brand in the whole world. For some reason, I wore those trousers on my first date with my girlfriend.


I still remember the satisfaction of carrying the bag – “no Dad, let me take it!” – with the white Polo shirt, just imagining how it would look on me the next day. Only now I start to realise that the first years of our lives are the most important. And only now, that my hair is starting to fall and what’s left of it is starting to have white shades, I go back to those days when the father figure is our hero and I understand that, like it or not, for good or for evil, that story about primary socialization (give or take) is really like this – it marks us forever. The other day a friend told me that one of the things that led him to study Arts was his mother’s impressive talent for drawing. I didn’t tell him, but I’ve noticed that I’d never heard him talk about his mother legacy with such pride. Me and Rui, we have the same age, we’ve studied in the same school and we’ve fought for the attention of the same cute teacher (of the same school)… it doesn’t intrigue me that now we look over our shoulders the same way. For all of this and something more, it will be no surprise that even before my son can wear that red polo shirt you see in the picture, his mother, right in the middle of her pregnancy, will indulge me by wearing one of those beautiful piquet dresses, almost as timeless as the famous Polo 1212. Fetish? Maybe. Father legacy? Definitely. Marketing credit? Hell no… it’s Lacoste.

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