Following the all-white uniformity at Wimbledon, tennis players tend to go all out on fashion when they compete at the US Open every year.
So it seems apt that Nike enlisted streetwear designer Virgil Abloh to create a new line for Serena Williams to wear at the tournament, which takes place in New York City later this month.
On Monday, the company released a series of images with Williams modelling the new line, which takes inspiration from Williams’ love of ballet.
Scroll through to see the whole collection, which will also be available at select Nike stores in the coming weeks.
Abloh, who founded streetwear company Off-White and is now the artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, said he studied Williams’ past looks before designing the new collection.
“I was trying to do something that I think could live up to those inspirations and move her forward,” Abloh told Vogue.
He said in a press release that he hoped to “embody her spirit and bring something compelling and fresh to tennis.”
A special dress form was made to Williams’ exact measurements for Abloh to work off of during the design process. He had the tennis star give input on all the design elements she wanted to include in her Grand Slam look.
“As you can tell by her personality in her play, she’s very much involved in her aesthetic,” Abloh told Vogue. “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 collection — which includes a tennis dress, a bomber jacket, and special edition sneakers — was inspired by both the grace and sport of Williams’ aggressive playing style. Her love of ballet and dance also take center stage with the dress’ tulle skirt.
“What I love about tennis is the gracefulness. It’s an aggressive and powerful game, but it takes touch and finesse,” Abloh said.
“So the dress is feminine, but combines her aggression,” Abloh said in the press release. “It’s partially revealing. It’s asymmetrical. It has a sort of ballerina-esque silhouette to symbolise her grace. It’s not about bells and whistles and tricks. It’s just about it living on the body and expressing Serena’s spirit with each swing of the racket.
When Williams first saw the collection, she said it embodied a look that “is so different for tennis.”
“When I first tried on the dress, I felt very strong and feminine at the same time. It has all the really strong elements from the leather to that really cool stretchy material,” Williams told Vogue.
Williams’ favourite part of the outfit was clearly the tutu.
“I felt so feminine in the tutu, which is probably my favourite part of it,” Williams said. “It really embodies what I always say: that you can be strong and beautiful at the same time.”
She added: “I have never worn a tutu. Every girl loves a tutu, or at least I do! It’s always been my dream to wear a tutu. And I can’t wait to wear it on court.”
The Queen Collection will also be available at select Nike stores later this month, ranging in price from $US130 to $US900.
Abloh released two new sneakers from his Nike shoe collection, The Ten, for the Williams collaboration.
Nike also released images of the new PE edition of the NikeCourt Flare 2 shoes that Williams will wear during the tournament. The US Open begins August 27.
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