Vogue CS in English

Checking in with Louise Trotter of Lacoste

This week, our International Editor checks in with Louise Trotter, the first female creative director of Lacoste, about Novak Djokovic, finding clarity and how living remotely has made her feel more connected to her neighbors in Paris.
Hello! How are you? It’s been forever since we worked together at Gap in New York but at least we have Instagram to keep track of each other! Are you in London or Paris right now?
“It has been a while – it feels so long since we worked together in New York but I am happy that we have kept in touch remotely and thankful to have this opportunity to connect again professionally. I wanted to thank you for inviting me to take part in this interview and I am currently really well and living in Paris.” 
 I’m at home with my family in Prague. Pretty much all everyday restrictions have been lifted here now but we are still being very cautious. Have you ever been to Prague before? 
“Lucky you! I have only been to Prague once and my lasting memory was the architecture. I would love to come back and visit when the restrictions are lifted. I think we all took travel for granted before this situation and I hope that when we can start traveling again, that we will do so in a more conscientious and meaningful way.” 
Louise Trotter
How have you and your family been dealing with the current situation?
“First of all, I want to recognize that being able to go into lockdown in a comfortable environment is a luxury for which I need to be thankful. Through this experience I have discovered that I am much more of a ‘homebody’ than I realized and that I have been quite content to stay home close to my children and my husband. I normally work long hours, so to wake up next to them and to be there at bedtime has been a treat. My children attend a bilingual school in Paris that was quick off the mark in adapting its courses to remote learning. Thankfully my husband has taken the chief role in homeschooling, which the children have accepted fairly gracefully. 
Confinement in a foreign city is naturally less familiar and conducted in a second language has been occasionally tough, yet for the first time since moving to Paris, I have felt part of my local community. Shopping locally, clapping for the care providers nightly and friendly waves from strangers on neighboring balconies have contributed to this feeling of solidarity. In a strange way, living remotely has made me feel more connected. 
At one point my sister, who lives in the UK, was bedridden with the virus, which was a big worry, but thankfully she made a full recovery. My heart goes out to those whose loved ones were less fortunate. 
Although I have been working every day, I have also spent time rationalizing my belongings and wardrobe. I had a strong desire to let go of things that felt superfluous and this process of editing has had a big impact on how I am thinking and approaching my work as a designer. I hope I can hold on to this clarity once things go back to ‘normal’.
On the other hand, the increased wine consumption coupled with the unused (newly acquired) yoga mat has ensured that I might be bigger but not necessarily better than before.”
What are you doing to keep yourself inspired?
“I am working every day, so my work and my team have kept me motivated. We have a group WhatsApp where we share passions and ideas, this has been a great way to get to know each other better and to keep connected. 
With my kids, we have been designing and making our own t-shirts. Unfortunately, I have to admit that they draw so much better than me…
Regular video calls and catch-ups with close friends and collaborators who inspire me have kept my spirit positive and my mind active.”
What television shows or movies have you been watching?
“I rarely get to watch TV, so settling down on the sofa with Netflix has been a guilty pleasure. I’ve watched everything from The Wizard of Oz to Parasite and I finally got through The Godfather trilogy. I have also enjoyed a few documentaries - Becoming by Michele Obama felt powerful and sad because of the current context and the Bill Gates series was fascinating. I also loved Rams, the Dieter Rams documentary. 
Any favorite meals that you’ve been cooking?
“Don’t you mean eating?! I am fortunate to have a husband who loves to cook and we both like simple food using seasonal ingredients. I have been a vegetarian for most of my life, which forms the bases of our meals. My favorite is a simple homemade pasta with garlic, olive oil, chill and fresh tomatoes.”
Any great books that you could recommend?
“I have enjoyed rereading some favorites such as Calypso by David Sedaris and The Great Gatsby.”
What about podcasts?
“I have yet to get into podcasts.”
In October 2018, you became the first female creative director in the 85-year history of Lacoste. What have been some of the highlights from your first 18 months with the brand?
“I have felt the significance and the responsibility of being the first female to hold this position and it has propelled me to deliver on the trust that Lacoste has placed upon me. Early on I was fortunate enough to meet Beryl Lacoste, who is the most generous and inspiring woman and happens to be the granddaughter of Rene, and from her, I was able to hear his story first-hand. I have also had the opportunity to spend time with our tennis ambassador Novak Djokovic, who is not only one of the greatest champions of all time but is also a massive thinker. My first show for the brand in March 2019 was a milestone because it was my first opportunity to put my personality and vision into the conversation.”
The Fall 2020 show that you presented during Paris Fashion Week in March was full of golf references and optimistic color. Please tell me about your inspiration for the collection.
“The collection was a study of the relationship between Rene Lacoste, who was a champion tennis player, and his wife Simone de la Chaume, who was a champion of golf. It’s rare for two champions to come together to create such a power couple. I wanted to explore the harmony in their relationship and the contrasts in their codes of dress.” 
What are your three favorite looks from the collection?
“It’s hard to say which looks are my favorite as I tend to be quite critical of my own work.”  
“Without elegance, playing and winning are not enough” is a quote from Rene Lacoste, the French tennis player and businessman that founded the brand back in 1933, which you have referenced before. Why does that resonate with you?
“Rene’s belief that the way you played was more important than the act of winning itself, is something that rings true to me. He also took these values to his everyday life and ran Lacoste with these same principles. I approach my work with the same values.”
Lastly, what do you say to people when they call the iconic Lacoste logo an alligator?
“In a while, crocodile.”
Marc Jacobs in Lacoste during quarantine in New York on May 2, 2020.
Giedrė Dukauskaitė in Lacoste reminiscing about Paris on Instagram on April 1, 2020.
Liya Kebede in Lacoste on the way to the Lacoste Fall 2020 show during Paris Fashion Week on March 3, 2020.
Luka Sabbat in Lacoste at the Lacoste Fall 2020 show during Paris Fashion Week on March 3, 2020.
Bella Hadid in Lacoste opening the Lacoste Fall 2020 show during Paris Fashion Week on March 3, 2020.
Novak Djokovic in Lacoste after winning the Australian Open for the eighth time on February 2, 2020.
Maggie Maurer in Lacoste backstage at the Lacoste Fall 2019 show during Paris Fashion Week on March 5, 2019.