A year after having her tennis outfit banned at the French Open, Serena Williams had something to communicate through her look for the 2019 tournament — literally.
At the 2018 French Open, the 23-time Grand Slam winner made headlines for wearing a Nike compression catsuit to compete on the tennis court. While Williams wore the sleek one-piece outfit to help prevent blood clots that she developed after giving birth to her nine-month-old daughter, Olympia, the French Tennis Federation took issue with the fashion statement, banning the look in a new dress code issued after the match.
Undeterred from pushing the fashion boundaries, Williams, who has her own fashion label, returned to the French Open on Monday in an equally headline-making look, this time a Virgil Abloh-designed black-and-white Nike outfit with a jacket emblazoned with the words “champion,” “queen” and “goddess.” Many are seeing Williams’ sartorial choice as a rebuttal to the ban on her catsuit.
On the 2018 dress code drama, Williams commented last May to reporters: “I feel like if and when, or if they know that some things are for health reasons, then there’s no way that they wouldn’t be OK with it, so I think it’s fine. The president of the French Federation, he’s been really amazing. He’s been so easy to talk to. My whole team is basically French, so, yeah, we have a wonderful relationship.”
This isn’t the first time Williams has teamed up with Abloh for her tennis court looks. After the catsuit controversy, the two collaborated on another unconventional style: an asymmetric sleeved leotard with a matching tutu for the U.S. Open in September 2018.
Given her affinity for bold looks on the court, all eyes will be on Williams’ sartorial statements as the French Open continues.
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