As you may have gathered from my no doubt infuriating Instagram feed, last week I managed to fit two trips to Paris into the space of four days. Admittedly the first trip wasn’t exactly full on fabulousness, research days spent in archives rarely are, but the second which came courtesy of Lacoste most definitely was. Before we go any further, let me take you back a few years to the start of my relationship with the quintessential French sportswear brand. Picture the scene, your’s truly aged 11 or 12 finally, after months of whinging, moaning and sulking manages to persuade her long suffering parents to buy her the Lacoste crocodile logo polo shirt she so covets. Baby blue in colour, immaculate in cut, she wears it with everything (particularly denim mini skirts, footless tights and over straightened hair… oh the shame) until eventually it becomes a health risk to do so anymore. Back then I had no idea about the brand’s legacy, or how to dress for that matter. Fast forward a decade and I like to think I have slightly more of a clue about the two, at least I hope so.
You know how much I love me a label with a legacy and, mes amies, Lacoste is just that. Founded by René Lacoste, French tennis star nicknamed “the crocodile”, back in 1933 the company’s ingenious mesh material polo shirts soon transcended the heat of the American courts they were originally designed to combat and became THE preppy staple of the late 20th century. No WASP’s wardrobe was complete without several. But of course, a polo shirt alone does not a global mega brand make and through diversification into everything from bed sheets to beachwear Lacoste expanded to become just that. Today though, the company is about far more than the bottom line. Under the Creative Direction of Felipe Oliveira Baptista, Lacoste has begun to be hailed as a fashion force to be reckoned with and having attended their breathtakingly chic shows during New York Fashion Week several seasons in a row, I can attest to that. The catwalk collections garner critical acclaim while their classic sportif staples continue to fly off shelves all over the globe, an impressive feat no doubt about that. So when Lacoste invited me to attend the unveiling of their new campaign, “Life Is A Beautiful Sport,” in the French fashion capital I didn’t need to think twice before saying yes. The idea of witnessing the next step in a sartorial journey spanning almost a century was too tempting to resist and come on, what sane individual turns down a whirlwind Paris trip!?
On Thursday night I could barely sleep for sheer anticipation of the events to come. Well, a combination of excitement and mild stress because I would be going straight from a crack of dawn gym/wash/work start to and very exciting photo shoot (ooooh you just watch this space!) to the Eurostar, hoping to catch up on emails, blog posts and uni reading somewhere along the way. For once, all went without a hitch and I even found time to pick up an itsu box and gross my fellow passengers out by gorging on sushi half the way to Paris. Even arriving after darkness has fallen and temperatures have plummeted, the city is magnifique and I spent my taxi journey gazing out onto the exquisite streets feeling a mixture of unattractive smugness and sheer unbridled awe. As for the hotel itself, what can I say, it was awesome. Located in the super hip area of République and Oberkampf (think Shoreditch but infinitely better) Hôtel Fabric is a rare combination of achingly cool, perfectly decorated and deliciously welcoming. Think shabby chic, exposed piped loft meets pop cultural homage to fun meets interior designer’s wet dream; it’s both wonderful and strangely homely. Sadly I didn’t have much time to kick back in my gorgeous room or loll on my super chic, art deco fab pink and stripy bed. After a swift but delicious room service-while-getting-ready session followed by a drink in the bar with fellow guest Menswear Style’s Craig Landale it was time to party! And Lacoste’s campaign launch celebration was one HELL of a party.
Held at La Générale, a vast warehouse esque space on L’Avenue Parmentier, the second our car pulled up I knew we were in for a good night. The entire venue had been transformed into a brightly lit and beautiful, high ceilinged emporium of fashionable fun. Set over two floors there were live installations, ping pong tables, multiple bars and live music. Despite being a mere half hour or so fashionable late the place was packed, no meat feat considering its size. Given the whirlwind nature of the trip, I didn’t have much of an idea which other bloggers Lacoste was shipping out for the event. I was delighted to be reunited with Betty Autier and Mathieu Lebreton who I hadn’t really seen since the Gucci trip and both of whose blogs I stalk endlessly. Other Lacoste bloggers included Fashion Toast’s Rumi Neeley (another one firmly bookmarked) so all in all, I was in pretty major company.
I read an article in February Vogue musing on whether there’s much point to fashion month shipping (or rather flying/Eurostar-ing) basically the exact same group of people around the world for half the year. Personally this is one of the things I adore about it so much. Whatever stylish city you’re fashion weeking in there are guaranteed to be people you know, like and want to party with. This was most definitely the case at Lacoste’s campaign launch bash and my over excitement at being reunited with Michael Shane bordered on hazardous to those around me. By the time this excitement subsided (well, ish) there was something else to get pumped about, namely the grand unveiling of Lacoste’s “Life Is A Beautiful Sport” campaign a breathtaking film directed by Seb Edwards and starring rising French actor Paul Hamy.
The film, and accompanying campaign set in a cityscape skyline, beautifully merged Lacoste’s sporting heritage with the clean lines and pared back everyday elegance associated with the brand today. The overarching message; life is a beautiful sport, whether you live it on the sidewalk or the tennis court. The full campaign video will premiere on February 7th and trust me, you’ll want to put that date in your diary.
A huge thank you to Lacoste and Starworks for a truly wonderful not-even-24-hours in Paris!
Love Ella x
Event & Campaign images courtesy of Stephane Cardinal and SAY WHO Jean Picon