11 September 2011

Lacoste logo - alligator or crocodile?

The Philippines recently captured alive the biggest ever saltwater crocodile in the country, and possibly in the world. Lolong, the name that natives have given the reptile, measures 21 feet and weighs 2,370 pounds. 

Pending confirmation by the Guinness World Records, Lolong may have to wait until a verdict is given. The distinction of the "world's largest croc" is currently enjoyed by 17-foot-something saltwater crocodile Cassius from Australia.

The media frenzy over Lolong has inspired us to post something interesting about another reptile in the world of designer clothing.

You've probably thought about it too and asked, "Is the Lacoste logo an alligator or a crocodile?" This wee bit of detail has sparked interesting debates among fans of the popular brand. 

Alligators vs. Crocodiles

Elementary science tells us that although they share similarities, the alligator and the crocodile are distinct crocodilians. The crocodile is clearly the more aggressive reptile. An ocular inspection of the two also reveals the following differences:

  • The alligator has a U-shaped snout.  The crocodile has a V-shaped snout.

  • The alligator's upper jaw is longer than its lower jaw, so that only the upper set of teeth are visible when the alligator's mouth is closed. In contrast, the crocodile's upper and lower jaws are aligned so that both sets of teeth can be seen.

  • The alligator is the darker of the two and may be brownish, greenish, grayish or even blackish. On the other hand, the crocodile is typically olive brown and is lighter in color than the alligator.

The Lacoste Logo

Records confirm that the original Lacoste logo used a crocodile.

In 1923, the team captain of the French Davis Cup reportedly made a wager with Lacoste and promised to award a crocodile-skin suitcase if Lacoste won the match. The French tennis superstar lost, but he was seen to "fight like a crocodile" on the tennis court.

The reptilian embroidery was sewn on Rene Lacoste's blazer by Robert George in support of the tennis superstar's "crocodile on the court" image, paving the way for the commercialization of the luxury style.

Fast forward several decades, some Lacoste addicts insist that the logo shows an alligator. The reptile appears less hostile and much darker, in contrast to the nasty-looking crocs. Moreover, a lot of price tags from authorized boutiques indicate the name CAIMAN, which is actually a member of the alligator family.

The Official Answer

So, is the Lacoste logo an alligator or a crocodile?

If you ask the Lacostes, you'll be surprised with their official answer.

A New York Times article published in 2006 quoted the late Bernard Lacoste, heir of the designer empire and then president of the company as saying:

"It's definitely an alligator in America, while it's a crocodile in France. We don't mind what it is called in other countries."


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