PARIS--Felipe Oliveira Baptista has been creative director of Lacoste since September 1, replacing Christophe Lemaire, who has gone off to Hermès.
After a soaring career, including winning the Hyères festival and ANDAM awards, Baptista is hardly a surprising choice for Lacoste. The designer oscillates between easy to wear, multi-referential pieces for his own brand, and a couture twist on the high street for his capsule collections with Uniqlo and Nike.
Fashionista caught him after work on Friday, and chatted to him in Frenglish about his first few days at Lacoste.
Fashionista: You have been at Lacoste for just days, how does it feel? Baptista: It has been a lot of fun, a real thrill, but of course, I’ve had to meet so so so many people which is a lot of information to take in at once. Also, we’ve just moved to a beautiful new building in the 9th arrondissement, so it really feels like a fresh start. What appealed to you about working for Lacoste? This is an amazing challenge, for myself, for my own brand. I love the idea of working on several aspects of a brand, rethinking its global identity.
And why do you think Lacoste chose you? What appealed to them about your work? There were actually six of us in competition, we all had to prepare a file on our vision for Lacoste. I brought in a variety of things, ranging from fashion, to interior design and architecture, which are in fact very close to the brand’s values. Also, I looked at their use of color, and suggested ways of mixing their trademark bright shades with other prints and layers.
It was said that Lacoste is trying to rejuvenate the brand and feminize it. What are your planning on doing to develop these aspects? It’s not just about feminizing the brand, but expanding the clothes offered beyond their basic crocodile polo. I feel it’s an emergency for them to start building a real wardrobe from A-Z.
Can you reveal what we will be seeing at your first Lacoste show? We haven’t started discussing the concrete style, but we are working on developing certain coherence between all their lines. The question of style comes with it, naturally.
You have worked for Christophe Lemaire before, and now have the same position he used to have. How does it feel? It’s just funny! People say he recommended me but honestly, it’s just a nice coincidence. And what are you preparing for your next collection for your own brand? The collection will be called "Polymorphous." It is hard to describe, it will be like a dialogue between different dichotomies, a puzzle of contradictory things. I can’t summarize it in three words…just come to the show! Related: Gaultier Out at Hermes, Lemaire In