Inspired by the stunning Villa Malaparte from Capri, the designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista shares all the details of his latest collection with Marie Claire
Upon entering the location of Lacoste’s fashion show, a breezy Mediterranean ambiance surprised the guests. Filled with palm trees, the idea was to feel a part of the environment that inspired the designer of the brand, Felipe Oliveira Baptista. “I imagined a tennis match at the top of Villa Malaparte,” he explains, referring to a house on the island of Capri surrounded by vegetation and sea that’s also one of the best examples of contemporary Italian architecture.
The house was immortalized in Jean-Luc Godard’s “Contempt” (1963), starring Brigitte Bardot, another one of the designer’s influences for this season. In the movie, Bardot appears sunbathing, wearing bathrobes, or just rolled up in towels in various scenes. These scenes were the starting point for some pieces of the collection.
“I like the concept of extreme leisure. A very nonchalant idea of elegance,” comments Felipe. This thought was translated into flowing dresses that sometimes appeared with belts around the waist, trench coats over tracksuits, and even high waist sweatpants.
When asked which piece he believes will be the biggest hit, Felipe replies, “I love the bathrobes made with fleece or cashmere. They are the ultimate protective cocoon and feel good pieces.”
The terry cloth was also part of the collection, appearing in pieces like a strapless dress (pictured below left) and hooded robes or collars. These looks aren’t your average stay-at-home terrycloth: they’re so chic, they don’t even read as after-bath clothes. On the feet, slip-on wooden clogs complete the comfy look.
Elegance and sportswear
When Lacoste comes to mind, it’s inevitably related to sportswear. As the brand’s creative director since 2011, Felipe is challenged to show how versatile he can be. “We always reference the brand’s heritage and spirit. That magic combination of sport, function, and elegance is always present. This season was all about putting emphasis on that mix”. His SS17 collection lays the foundation for a new state of mind, “one that centers around the notion of natural seduction.”
Felipe debuted at Lacoste after showcasing his own brand at Haute Couture shows in Paris and winning prizes such as Hyères festival and Andam awards. At the helm of Lacoste, the designer pays tribute to his aesthetics without leaving behind the brand’s fundamentals. “I think that my taste, aesthetics, and flavor for cut, allure, and precision are very much present in the runway collection, although in the end I always think that what I do has to be very Lacoste.”
See now, buy now
There’s no denying that the fashion system is changing. With more brands opting for consumer-focused *collections* and sales of pieces right after they are presented on the catwalk, *everything is moving towards* “see now, buy now.”
What does a legacy brand like Lacoste, which was founded in 1933, think about this moment? “It’s a logical evolution of the fashion system, a reflection of the immediacy of our times,” Felipe says. In fact, Lacoste already has a collection of “see now, buy now” pieces that will be revealed in October. “It’s a collaboration with Jean-Paul Goude.