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Lacoste + Malandrino
To Debut Next Month

LacosteXmalandrino It's nearly impossible to keep track of these things anymore, but as far as we can tell, Lacoste has kept the whole designer collaboration thing at arms length. There have been a few forays into streetwear with brands like Alife, and a small program with Junya Watanabe, but next month will see a higher profile partnership when Lacoste + Malandrino debuts in the stores of both participants.

Don't think of this as Catherine Malandrino's entry into tenniswear, but more like Lacoste pushing for a higher fashion profile. Since its chief designer, Christophe Lemaire decamped to Hermès, the brand has discontinued its splashy runway show and new designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista has thus far declined to reinstate it. It's a little surprising that the brand would choose to enter into a high profile partnership with a women's designer before its own creative director has had much of a chance to make his own statement, but who are we to worry about what goes on behind the scenes?

What we can tell you is that the collaboration is set to go for four seasons, and the 12-piece spring collection wholesales for $145 to $750, meaning that the retail prices will be a few steps higher than your typical Lacoste fare. Malandrino tells WWD, "My most important role with Lacoste is to open the door to the feminine world. Now I am relaying effortless, chic, everyday clothes that you don’t have to think about. All of the silhouettes can be eye-catching, whether it is a miniskirt or high-waisted pants.”

Lacoste executives were so impressed with Malandrino that they allowed her to play with the brand's highly protected crocodile logo, adding a second figure to make a pair of kissing caimans, immediately differentiating her collection from the regular lines. Lacoste reportedly has another similar collaboration in the works to be revealed in the coming months. Apparently, the company is relying on flashier tactics to increase its profile instead of relying on its core product lines. Can Lacoste use them to make the leap from luxury active sportswear label to fully fledged fashion brand à la Burberry? We'll be watching to see.

Lacoste Unveils Catherine Malandrino Collection (WWD)


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