The little green embroidered crocodile first arrived on the scene when French tennis star Rene Lacoste sported the snapping-jawed animal on his tennis whites in 1934. Lacoste, nicknamed ‘Le crocodile’ for his characteristic nose, marketed his name and crocodile logo on a line of tennis-inspired sport shirts which American consumers quickly snatched up as a status symbol of the suburban upper class.
The new leisure lifestyle of the 50’s, in which golf and tennis were all the recreational rage, embraced the comfortable and fashionable look of the short-sleeved knitted polo shirt. The style, originally worn by polo players, featured a roll-down collar that maintained the flat position instead of flapping up in the wind. (Little did Lacoste know that the featured design would work equally well when 80’s preppies flipped the collar up in haughty defiance of gravity).
General Mills purchased the licensing rights in 1969, and the beloved crocodile swam across the seas from its homeland in France to the new production center in Hong Kong. As the crocodile’s popularity grew, the Lacoste name splashed across numerous status symbol products like watches, luggage, and other sports attire. The change in production standards lessened the revered level of quality, and the crocodile became just another animal in a zoo of competitors.
The 80’s revived the exclusive status of Izod when a whole new generation pulled on the polo shirt. Izod transformed itself into the teenage emblem of upward mobility, and the crocodile rested comfortably on the chests of preppies and Valley dudes in high schools across the country. Around this time, the crocodile assumed a mistaken identity as the 'alligator,' but rest assured, it always was and always will be a crocodile.
The characteristic style has remained virtually unchanged from the original design, and remains a classic. The exceptional quality of construction returned with the brand’s rebirth, and the little crocodile has once again found the spotlight and reclaimed the title of the emblem of the upper crust.
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