The upscale apparel label Lacoste was founded by French tennis star René Lacoste in 1933. His aggressive play and longish noose gave him the nickname 'Le Crocodile'. When Lacoste retired in 1933 he partnered up with André Gillier, the owner of the largest French knitwear manufacturer at the time. Together they created a the first short sleeve cotton tennis shirt that had a green crocodile embroidered on the left pocket - the infamous trademark symbol for Lacoste. According to Lacoste, they were the first to display a brand logo outside an article of clothing.
For over 10 years Lacoste almost exclusively produced plain white cotton-knit tennis shirt. Then, in the mid 1940s the company branched out to also create gold and sailing shirts. Not until 1952 did the Lacoste brand come to the US where it quickly gained popularity as "the status symbol of the competent sportsman". The brand reached it's high point in the US market in the late 70s to the mid 80s when the Lacoste shirt became a the signature "preppy" wardrobe item.
Rene Lacoste's son Bernard took over the company in the 1963. Under his leadership the company experience strong expansion. Besides tennis, golf, and sailing shirts, the company started to produce leather goods, watches, fragrances, and shoes. After Bernard Lacoste died in 2006 his younger brother Micheal took over the business. Just as in the early days, the brand still has a strong focus on tennis and golf. Tennis player Andy Roddick and Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie are two of their sponsored athletes.