Serena Williams cuts a formidable figure on and off the court, but the tennis star has something really special in the works for her upcoming appearance at the U.S. Open. Vogue reports that Serena will be wearing a specially designed look created for her by Virgil Abloh in collaboration with Nike.
“When I was thinking about outfits for Serena, I was thinking about her playing the game and her aesthetic while she is. Also about the confidence that’s needed while playing at the top level of tennis,” Abloh told Vogue via email. “This is very far from a design-by-numbers project. As you can tell by her personality in her play, she’s very much involved in her aesthetic. She has a level of creativity with how she expresses herself in terms of clothing in any event, so I made everything with her logic in mind. We traded images and there was a lot of back-and-forth to get this done in short order.”
The final look that resulted from the design is a one-shoulder black dress with a full tulle tennis-length skirt. The top is sleek and athletic, featuring the traditional Nike logo and Abloh’s own trademark – the quotation graphic that has become a signature of his designs. This one reads “Logo.” The flouncy skirt is feminine but also moves well for playing the game. Williams told Vogue she appreciates that the look marries strength and femininity, proving that she can be strong and beautiful.
Williams is also going to be wearing customized NikeCourt Flare Sneakers on the court, and a jacket designed by Abloh to wear when she’s not on the court. Fans should be excited too – a limited run of Williams’ entire outfit is going to be available for purchase. This includes the tennis dress, jacket, and two Nike the Ten sneaker styles inspired by her.
Abloh has been designing for athletes for some time. He has collaborated with Nike on designs for the World Cup and he also has a sneaker line, the Ten, with the brand.
For Abloh, designing for an athlete is all about bringing both of their creativity to the forefront. Abloh researched her past looks extensively, taking note of what features she favored. The pair collaborated in depth on the design, trading emails and opinions throughout the process. The resulting piece showcases the strength and elegance Williams portrays on the court, and may inspire tennis fashions for years to come.