French sportswear clothier Lacoste is parting ways with its long-time Creative Director Felipe Oliveira Baptista.
Baptista had been overseeing design at Lacoste since 2010 and the exodus reveals more underlying changes being set in motion by the brand’s CEO Thierry Guibert.
Guibert said in a statement, “A new stage will now open and I am extremely confident in the future successes of our brand, emblematic of French know-how and elegance.”
Baptista’s farewell collection will be the brand’s collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature that entailed the redesign of Lacoste’s for 10 limited-edition pieces and was shown in February 2018. A successor has not been named and the upcoming Spring 2019 will be designed by the studio team.
During his tenure, Baptista collaborated with designers like Maison Lesage, Jean-Paul Goude, Yazbukey and Supreme (which is rumoured to be revamped). He took revenues from US $ 1 billion in 2009 to US $ 2 billion in 2016, building on the growth trajectory kick-started by his predecessor Christophe Lemaire.
The designer’s own Paris-based label for which he won the Festival d’Hyères prize along with his partner was put on hold in 2014 after he joined Lacoste.
As for the brand’s future, it seems like CEO Guibert’s focus in on re-instating Lacoste’s French heritage and its connection to the sports world. Guibert is also focussed on updating the brand’s global distribution strategy, especially in the US which accounts for 15% of the overall share.
His most recent endeavours included launching ‘made in France’ capsule collections and marketing with tennis star Novak Djokovic.