Ten Meets Louise Trotter, The Creative Director Propelling Lacoste Into The Future
If you hadn’t already noticed by now, Lacoste has quietly been going through a reincarnation in recent memory. So long are outdated knits and dad-like polos – the green croc is now a symbol of ultra desirability for the contemporary fashion consumer. This rapid change in pace comes courtesy of British-born designer Louise Trotter, who took the helm of the house as the brand’s first female creative director back in 2018.
Despite her forward-thinking vision, Trotter is no new kid on the block. Prior to her arrival at Lacoste, the designer spent a decade at Parisian label Joseph, succeeding the brand’s founder Joseph Ettedgui who passed away in 2010. Under Trotter’s creative direction, the brand was able to expand internationally and became optimised in terms of vision and style.
“I gained an appreciation of French aesthetic and culture at Joseph as the founder was a French Anglophile and the atelier was based in Paris,” explains Trotter. “At the same time, the Anglo-French background of Joseph allowed for a diverse aesthetic, which contained within a relatively small organisation forced us to work creatively, efficiently and imaginatively – qualities which I believe are assets at a larger brand like Lacoste.”
Hailing from Sunderland, the designer spent a large chunk of her formative years trekking up and down the country to see her favourite bands. “My earliest fashion memories are linked to music and British youth culture, the sense of belonging through the way you dressed and the music that you followed,” she reflects today. Through such excursions, her earliest ideas of fashion were formed – coupling her infatuation with The Face with the pattern making skills and garment construction she learnt from her grandmother, to make her own clothes throughout her teens before heading off to study at design and marketing at Newcastle Polytechnic.
Despite noteworthy positions at the likes of Gap, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and of course, Joseph, Trotter always had one eye on Lacoste. She first became a fan of from playing Tennis in her youth. “Sport was a big part of my childhood: from watching football with my father to travelling across the county playing tennis and hockey. [Lacoste] was for us a luxury brand that we coveted.”
Upon arriving at the brand, the designer set herself two personal goals. The first: to re-install Rene Lacoste’s – the brand’s founder’s – core values within the team’s design process. She then became set on uniting each of the brand’s collections, from sport to catwalk, under one, cohesive vision.
This modernised take on the brand was debuted for autumn/winter 2019 – where Trotter paired swollen polos with roomy camel trousers, rainbow-hued anoraks with techy skirts and a brave new take on the classic tennis sweater – her favourite Lacoste creation she’s worked on to date.
Since, she has steadily worked on a contemporary wardrobe that would look just as good on the court as it would off – introducing louche suiting and retro tracksuits to the conversation, as well as wipe-clean outerwear in the most gorgeous of hues.
Reacting to the current global circumstances we’re in, Trotter decided against holding a physical fashion show for Lacoste in September. Dedicating her spring/summer 2021 collection to the Lacoste the globe who have been supporting her collections for the brand. “Through my work and collections, I hope to convey the beauty of the diversity and appeal of this brand,” she says. “The crocodile has literally become a rallying sign for the many and so I believe the modern Lacoste customer can be found in all corners of the world.”
Trotter set on creating a limited-edition collection that used fabrics leftover in the studio from previous seasons, as well as upcycling vintage Lacoste pieces her team have been collecting over the last two years. “It seemed the right time to focus on something small, hand constructed and made by the team in Paris and our original polo factory in Troyes,” she affirms. Focusing on the sportswear icons the brand is known for, the collection blends Lacoste iconography from both now and yesteryear, including a hand-encrusted crocodile jumper by Couture house, Lemarié.
Despite being only four collections into her Lacoste tenure so far, Trotter has established a youthful voice for the brand that’s propelling it into the wardrobe of a whole new clientele. “I just want to keep learning, to push the brand forward and to create clothes people can enjoy,” she says. A humble goal, from an uber-talented designer, that she’ll no doubt achieve.
Portrait by Anders Edström, SS21 photography by Quentin De Briey.