Felipe Oliveira Baptista, who took the Lacoste designing reins from Christophe Lemaire over a year ago, presented his first full collection, including men’s wear, on Saturday. While there were plenty of terrific clothes here — and a new, almost ladylike chic direction — Lacoste may be one of those few wheels that does not need reinventing. For instance, showing a tricky apron-cut tunic with open sides over a cropped sweater does not enhance the brand.
Yet what did represent a more fluid evolution were the many interpretations of the polo and T-shirt — multicolor tunics and stretchy dresses and even long, snap-back dresses. The easy navy shorts with a white leather shirt also looked just right. Crisp pantsuits or swingy silk caftan dresses were appealing enough, but does one look to Lacoste for those? Thus Baptista’s challenge seems to be finding the balance between what has made Lacoste a favorite for the fashion flock and conservatives alike, and infusing that with his own sensibility.
As for the men’s, Baptista mixed sportswear influences with tailoring, as in blazers constructed of crisp cotton piqué in shades of white or Yves Klein blue. Hooded anoraks and peacoats with leather trim were paired with abbreviated shorts to spotlight the outerwear’s architectural seams and silhouettes. “It’s an exercise in things I would like to wear,” said the designer of his first foray into men’s wear. Indeed, the clean lineup had just enough fashion elements to keep things interesting for the basics-driven brand.