The tennis court has been the underrated red carpet for nearly a century. While celebrities have been scandalous with deep V cuts and high slits for decades, the short skirts of the court have been equally shocking and alluring in the most athletic of ways. Suzanne Lenglen’s knee-length dress in 1919 shook the world of both athletics and fashion. Then in 2007, Maria Sharapova’s Swarovski crystal encrusted ensemble had a similar effect, adding an element of high fashion to the game.
Sport’s brands like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armor have started to use Tennis Opens as their own Fashion Week of sorts. In the last few years not only have the known brands stepped up their game, but a few players such as Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova have become tennis style icons. Regardless if they are wearing reputable tennis labels or sporting their own lines, they are acing both their tennis and style games on the green.
This winter has been no different with the highly anticipated Australian Open. The traditional all-white outfit mandates are now exclusively for Wimbledon, allowing for players to showcase his or her own personal style. Most of the Nike girls — Eugenee Bonchard, Madison Keys, and Petra Kvitova — wore lovely, feminine, pink numbers making Nike once again a front-runner after a few years of stylish disappointments.
One of the most memorable fashion fails was Serena Williams’ pink panther look from last year’s US Open. But Serena has made a full fashion turn around at the Australian Open. Her tennis ensemble included a cut-out back and contrasting colors that were as vibrant and powerful as they were sexy. All the things a winner should be in my opinion so it’s no wonder she took home first place.
Her sister Venus Williams has made headlines in other ways with her fashion tennis collection EleVen that is now a serious competitor for the sportswear giants. The teal and white patterned dress worn by both Venus and Jarmila Gajdosova had mixed reviews at this open, but the brand has greatly improved its reputation since the 2011 Australian Open fashion disaster.
Maria Sharapova may have been second place this year but she definitely wasn’t second in the fashion ranking. Sharapova looked sophisticated and graceful as always. Her red cut-out dress from her self-named Nike line was classic and a standout among the sea of neon.
Although Nike was definitely the powerhouse this season, the other brands did not disappoint. Adidas Stella McCartney was worn by many and looked amazing on everyone. Simina Halep looked stunning in a floral pastel skirt by the line. Caroline Wozniacki wore a stunning teal dress also by this designer. Finally, Ana Ivanovic wore a gorgeous Stella McCartney Adidas purple dress that helped to distract from her nightmare of a match.
The ladies are not the only ones to be making fashionable statements on the court. At the Australian Open, the men were looking clean-cut and chic. Grigor Dimitrov stood out in a black and white patterned top by Nike and won best dressed by a long shot. The usually neon Andy Murray toned it down and looked equally great in a green and black subdued but eye-catching combo.
The worlds of sports and fashion have had a relationship for centuries yet it has often been overlooked. However, within the past few years everyone has begun to take notice. Between the heavy fashion coverage at tennis opens to supermodel Karlie Kloss starring in a campaign for Nike, it will not be long before more designers go straight from showcasing their collections at London Fashion Week to showcasing them on the greens at Wimbledon.
Madison Reis is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.