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New Lacoste collection

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For the past 80-odd years, sporting a small crocodile over your left nipple has been a widely-recognised sign of impeccably good taste. And in 2011, not much has changed.

Lacoste remains the first port of call for most men who crave casual chic and urban cool, and its innovative new launch — provocatively titled ‘Lacoste L!VE’ — should ensure that the brand’s reputation stays spotless for the foreseeable future.

In addition to classic preppy staples such as old-school tennis shoes (from £57), white jeans (£115) and slim-fit polo shirts (from £70), the collection boasts retina-baffling design tributes to Victor Vaserely and Daniel Buren. Allow us to spare you a trip to Wikipedia: they’re a pair of conceptual artists whose illusionist works inspired the op art movement in the mid-Sixties. The repeat stripes that adorn L!VE’s brightly coloured T-shirts and sweaters are an aesthetically pleasing nod to both of them.

And, if one artistic inspiration simply isn’t enough for you, there are also watercolour-style brush strokes encircling many of the polo shirts.

Presumably Lacoste employed the cross-pollination of exclamation mark and capital letter in L!VE’s title to grab your attention, but it needn’t have bothered. As you can see, the clothes manage that perfectly well by themselves.

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