When the late famous tennis player René Lacoste founded a line of shirts in 1933, he probably would never have imagined a polo that features the image of a supermodel (Angela Lindvall) appearing trapped inside the wearer's body. Or a geographic photo collage of a Las Vegas strip that starts and ends at the wearer's liver and heart, respectively.
These two provocative designs, courtesy of photographer Phil Poynter and musician David Byrne, are two of a total 12 created for Visionaire magazine in honour of Lacoste's 75th anniversary.
Visionaire, for those whose magazine predilections veer more toward the Economist or Us Weekly, is a highly conceptual, thrice-yearly publication that pushes the definition of editorial content. Since its founding in 2001, there have been issues devoted to taste (No. 47, complete with flavour samples), sound (No. 53, chockablock with 100 original sound pieces) and the Bible (No. 28, which retold the Old Testament through high fashion, just in time for the millennium). The original Toys issues (Nos. 44 and 45, full of figurines designed by fashion's crème de la crème) are so highly coveted that you can find them on eBay for nearly $2,000 (U.S.) a piece.
The Lacoste collaboration, titled 54 SPORT, is the first issue that is entirely wearable. There are four different editions, each with one small, medium and large polo folded inside. Arguably the most high-profile grouping consists of Nick Knight, Karl Lagerfeld and Michael Stipe.The triumvirate of tees comes packaged in separate plastic sleeves inside a massive display box with Visionaire 54 stitched in silver across the front. The best place to purchase 54 SPORT is online, (it's not available at any Lacoste boutiques) where a digital doppelganger of Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha dances frenetically to obscure alt group Fischerspooner.Watching her, it becomes clear that the shirts are meant to be worn, despite what may be an overriding desire to preserve the set intact. Lagerfeld's design, for instance, is an illustration of Lacoste as a young man and in his senior years. Playing a round in that polo would be the ultimate exercise in metafashion.