Li Xiaofeng for Lacoste: The Armored Crocodile




A porcelain polo may not be the ideal gear for the Wimbledon tennis courts, but it is the concept behind Lacoste’s 2010 Holiday Collector’s Series. Since 2006, the brand has enlisted artistic innovators like Visionaire, Michael Young and Tom Dixon put their own twist on the classic polo. But this year, Chinese artist Li Xiaofeng has taken the shirt to a whole new level. Based in Hong Kong, Xiaofeng is a muralist-turned-sculptor who uses shards of broken porcelain recovered from ancient archeological digs to create armor-esque clothing sculptures. Described as “Post-Orientalism,” the artist’s collaged artifacts often take the form of traditional Chinese dresses, jackets, neckties, and now, a Lacoste Polo.

“The Lacoste crocodile and the history of the brand were the inspiration for this project, but I used my own personal technique to realize the sculpture. It was also the idea of integrating East and West. For me, this sculpture is like a child, the result of the Union of East and West and me, using my hands to create it. I see myself as the father,” said Li of his work. Inspired by classical Chinese painting and ceramics from the early Ming Dynasty (1368â??1644 AD), the Lacoste sculpture marks the first time Li used new pottery for his work. The artist painted porcelain bowls with orchids, bamboo, plum blossoms and a phoenix, which represents good luck. After integrating the iconic crocodile logo into his traditional blue, white and red design, Li broke his painted bowls only to reassemble them into a polo shirt, the back of which features two rows of raised porcelain that cleverly represent a crocodile’s scales. 

But since shattered porcelain is, perhaps, not the most comfortable of materials, Li also created a (wearable) limited edition polo shirt that features a fractured digital print of photographed porcelain shards. Made in a deep cool blue and trimmed with blue ribbing (dark for men, light for ladies), the shirts are finished with a rare white version of the famed crocodile. Li’s Porcelain Polo will be unveiled during a fete at Paris’s Musée des Arts et Métiers this evening, and the limited edition shirts, which come packaged in a silk pouch stamped with a red Li Xiaofeng seal, will be available at Lacoste this holiday season.