Serena Williams is undeniably one of the world’s greatest athletes. Since her first appearance on the court, she’s produced a record-breaking 23 Grand Slam wins. And, while she’s been reliably (and relatably) open about her struggles with motherhood – particularly in terms of being a working mother – Williams doesn’t have time for negativity because, as she says, “I have championships to win, a beautiful daughter to raise, philanthropic work to do and family and friends to spend time with.” Like most women in the public eye, Williams’ outfits are scrutinised. But she’s managed to transcend such scrutiny, thanks to her excellent choice of kit, such as the catsuit she wore at the French Open that made her resemble an actual superhero and that she said made her feel like “a warrior” and a “Queen from Wakanda”. And her latest ensemble, made for her for this month’s upcoming US Open, is just as brilliant.
The new kit is the product of a collaboration between Nike and designer Virgil Abloh, who has quickly made waves in the fashion industry, thanks to his own brand, Off-White, not to mention his recent appointment as the creative director of menswear at Louis Vuitton. The collection, specifically designed for Williams, includes two dresses, a bomber jacket, three pairs of trainers and a bag for the athlete. And it is all very, very good.
“With Serena, we have one of the generation’s most powerful, inspiring athletes as the muse,” said Abloh in a statement. “I was trying to embody her spirit and bring something compelling and fresh to tennis.” The hero piece is a black ballet-inspired dress, which sounds frou-frou, but looks fierce. “The dress is feminine, but combines her aggression,” said Abloh. “It’s partially revealing. It’s asymmetrical. It has a sort of ballerina-esque silhouette to symbolise her grace.” Naturally, though, functionality is key. The dresses are made out of mesh in order to offer support and keep Williams cool. Add to that some slogan trainers reading “Queen of Queens”, in reference to her dominance in the sport and the location of the tournament (which takes place in Queens, New York), and you have yourself one very powerful ensemble.
The truth is, Serena could wear a poncho and Crocs to play tennis and still give her opponents a run for their money. But, as we know, all superheroes need a snazzy costume and Serena has chosen hers very carefully indeed.