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The industry’s full of iconic logos, but you rarely hear where they came from. To that end, we’re taking a look at the stories behind three of our favorite logos. Later in the week, you’ll hear a little more about Rolls Royce and Brooks Brothers—but first, the story of the René Lacoste and the crocodile.

Like so many tales, it starts with a piece of luggage.

Years before the clothing line was even considered, Lacoste’s coach promised him a crocodile-skin suitcase in exchange for winning an important match. He got the suitcase, but more importantly the American press took the opportunity to give him a new nom de guerre: “the crocodile.” It matched his tenacious style of play and, most importantly, it sounded cool.

To cement the nickname, a friend of Lacoste’s drew a croc on the front pocket of his on-court blazer—just like this—and the iconic crocodile was born.

In other words, it was a personal logo long before anyone thought of putting it on a polo shirt. Interestingly enough, the original was a good deal bigger than the embroidered version you see on the tennis courts of Newport…but when you’ve got a few Grand Slam titles under your belt, we figure you’ve earned a little flamboyance.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom