A fresh arrival for the coming season at Mainline Menswear is the Tokyo Series by Lacoste’s subsidiary brand, Lacoste Live.
The reinvention comes with more than a hint of Japanese inspiration, and is a consistent reference point for multiple designs in the Lacoste Live repertoire.
Lacoste Live themselves have become known as something of a young urban version of their classic styled main line. Vivid colours and experimental styles aren’t perhaps what you would associate with the French brand these days, but initiatives like this artistic collection are changing that.
We have already seen a number of collaborative projects released by Lacoste Live and it seems to be a recurring theme that they ask outside influencers to come in and reinterpret their brand. Artists such as Stevie Gee and illustrator Jiro Bevis have previously worked with the brand to create a line of graphic t-shirts, and now it is the turn of the Japanese illustrator Ponchan who has the chance to raise his own profile through such a prominent international clothing brand.
Ponchan, whose real name is Hisashi Okawa, uses a simple felt pen to create his images which have a child-like doodle characteristic but at the same time contain minute attention to detail, delicacy and overall quality. He has built up a reputation for contributing to books, fashion and internet sites, his inspiration comes from cartoons, graphic design and art which were all his key interests of his whilst growing up in Hyogo, Japan.
He previously worked with the brand on their first range of collaborative graphic t-shirts and created the popular basketball image, this time he changes his colours to a moody black and white city scene which will tie in perfectly with the fashion for the second half of 2014. His influence can perhaps be related to the inclusion of Japanese text t-shirts elsewhere in the label’s collection. See these styles too at Mainline Menswear.
The other t-shirt in the Tokyo Series release is a printed design by Kustaa Saksi, a Finnish artist plying his trade in Amsterdam. He is known for a preference towards playful and fantastical illustrations as well as strong use of psychedelic shapes and animalistic drawings. His introduction to Lacoste Live’s list of collaborators suggests they have recognised they can use his expertise with prints like paisley to tap in to the strong consumer demand for it at the minute.
His design is a multicoloured graphic print which is strongly detected in contrast to the the inkwell blue exterior of the t-shirt. According to Lacoste themselves this design is “defining an urban, cosmopolitan style” and the kaleidoscopic animal imagery certainly represents a new direction for the brand with a much younger street-savvy audience in mind.
Lacoste Live has a much more care-free attitude towards design than the main brand, it has given them a license to be more adventurous with ideas and they have successfully shown a different side to their brand personality. Their use of young artists has helped them reinforce their status as a diverse brand and they have achieved a much more eclectic style since they took this bold step.
How would you style Lacoste Live’s artistic new tees?