When’s the last time you can recall being forbidden to wear your black latex catsuit? Certainly not latex, but surely black and indeed a catsuit, tennis star Serena Williams was told she could no longer wear her infamous black catsuit on the French Open court. But during Monday’s first round at the 2018 U.S. Open, Serena wore a tutu, a signature skirt designed by Virgil Abloh, the creative director for Louis Vuitton.
French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli told Tennis Magazine that William’s body-hugging super hero-like wardrobe “…will no longer be accepted.” He also added the FFT will be scrutinizing designer’s player collections for the play at Roland Garros next year, even though most have already been made. At the time, Williams said her reason for wearing the catsuit was as a tribute to: “All the moms out there that had a tough pregnancy and have to come back and try to be fierce, in the middle of everything. That’s what this represents. You can’t beat a catsuit, right?” As she had been suffering blood clots from the recent delivery of her baby, she said wearing pants (and items tight to her legs like the catsuit) helped with her circulation.
And then Saturday, pre her tutu, Serena addressed the ‘ban’ at the opening of the U.S. Open saying: “Everything’s fine, guys….My whole team is basically French, so, yeah, we have a wonderful relationship. I’m sure we would come to an understanding and everything will be OK … so it wouldn’t be a big deal.”
As we are all aware, fashionistas and sport’s fans alike, Serena Williams knows her way around textile art, and haute couture. The 37-year old tennis star and new mom has worked with the Home Shopping Network and Nike collaborating on clothes. And just this past May, after winning a Grand Slam match at the French Open no less, Serena debuted a new wardrobe collection at serenawilliams.com.
What the French Open ban/scrutiny, or any that follow, will have on the overall costume design of professional tennis players in the future, can’t be predicted. But Serena Williams seems to have as many sartorial options as she does tennis skills.