It was quite an honor and a great pleasure to interview the super-talented Creative Director of Lacoste, Felipe Oliveira Baptista, at the super-imposing headquarters of this global brand which is quite popular in the US, and for that matter regularly showcases in NYC during the MB Fashion Week. Few hours before the interview, I was seating front-row, watching their amazing Fall/Winter 2013/14 show at Lincoln Center, one of the happiest moments of my trip to NYC during the so-called fashion month. The interview was firstly posted on the Greek website Womantoday.gr and now I have the chance to also share it with my English-speaking readers through my blog. Check below all that I asked this very sweet and down-to-earth designer, who’s charming both in manners and in works.
Elena: You are a young multi-awarded designer always going for novelty. What’s the new, fresh, innovative elements in this collection?
Felipe: I think that the newest thing is the treatment we gave to the really iconic fabric that is the piqué, which we are bounding with all sorts of different fabrics and that allows us to add shape in a much more constructive way and play more with volume. It’s the idea of working more on interesting volumes, working more on shape, and at the same time keeping things very sportive, inspired and comfortable.
Elena: Your mission is to create every-day urban stories around forms and colors. What was your real-life inspiration this time?
Felipe: In the sense that it’s the second collection we are working on, which coincides with the 80th anniversary of Lacoste, it’s a second take on what we did in the first one, in which I looked at the beginning and the roots of this iconic brand. Now it’s more like looking ahead. It was more of the will to go to places that we’ve never been before and experiment with things, while at the same time, keeping the essence of Lacoste. It’s this idea of exploration and of making things functional.
Elena: Is there a shift or change in the way people or clients respond to the new elements you infused in this super strong brand DNA of Lacoste? How would you describe these people’s attitude and lifestyle?
Felipe: It’s quite early to say that, because as you know, even though it’s been two years, in the stores it’s been only one year. I think that an evolution takes a few more than four seasons to happen and be felt. So far it’s been pretty well-received. There are markets which are more classic and others which are more fashion-forward. There are great differences in the way and the speed with which people respond because it is an international brand and this is very interesting. It’s over 1500 stores in the world, and although we are talking about globalization, regional differences still exist.
Elena: How can you both create Haute Couture and sportswear? In what way can a couturier, like you and some others in the industry, positively affect and reinvent the sporty heritage of a well-established brand?
Felipe: I think it’s possible because it’s this taste for pushing things forward and trying new things, that certainly comes from the experimentation which goes within the framework of the couturiers, the way they are working on the construction of the garment and the shape of it, as well as on the design. It’s about thinking of the garment more as 3D, developing shapes, and less as simple 2D structure.
Elena: How do you imagine the Lacoste crocodile in a few years from now? Would you like to see even the logo evolving somehow, and in what way?
Felipe: That was also the idea of the silicon crocodile we developed for these clothes, which was already the idea of looking ahead. The classic logo will always be there but I think it’s interesting to try things and keep that in movement, as well.
Elena: Which is the most impressive thing you discovered when you started delving into the brand’s archives, and is not very much known? Was there something fascinating for all of us to learn?
Felipe: It was just the quantity of things and the richness of it. It was the question of size in all levels that was kind of almost overwhelming when I started. Because you know Lacoste is global but when you actually get into it, it’s even more impressive. One of the most impressive things to see was in this warehouse near Paris, a line of four kilometers with tons of boxes and no humans involved in the process. It’s quite amazing. It’s quite beautiful at the same time!
Check the new Lacoste Fall/Winter 2013/14 Collection HERE!