US Open (tennis)

Serena Williams cruises in Virgil Abloh-designed Off-White Nike tutu at US Open days after French Open ‘Wakanda’ catsuit ban

Top-earning female athlete follows World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe in wearing shoes designed by Kanye West collaborator and head of Louis Vuitton

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2018, 3:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2018, 3:22pm

Serena Williams cruised past Poland’s Magda Linette at Flushing Meadows on her return to the US Open after missing last year’s tournament while pregnant with her first child.

She secured victory in an outfit designed by one of the most in-demand names in fashion, Virgil Abloh.

The collaboration with Louis Vuitton menswear artistic director and frequent Kanye West collaborator Abloh is entitled “Queen” and was announced earlier this month ahead of the tournament.

The 6-4, 6-0 win was her 90th at the US Open, a tournament she has won six times but not since 2014.

“With Serena, we have one of our generation’s most powerful, inspiring athletes as the muse,” said Abloh in a press release.

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“I was trying to embody her spirit and bring something compelling and fresh to tennis.”

Abloh founded Off-White in Milan in 2012 and it has since become a favourite of celebrities as well as collaborating with brands such as Nike.

Last week Williams choice of a catsuit for her French Open comeback in May was banned by officials in Paris as Roland Garros announced it will be introducing a new dress code.

The move attracted much criticism from voices such as Billie Jean King, who the US Open stadium is named after, although Williams herself told reporters ahead of the US Open victory that “everything’s fine” with the new rules.

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Williams had said of the catsuit that it made her feel like “a super hero” at the tournament.

“I feel like a warrior in it, like a warrior princess, a queen from Wakanda maybe,” she said at the time.

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The presence of streetwear brands in tennis has increased recently with Adidas partnering with Palace during this year’s Wimbledon and Lacoste collaborating with Supreme in 2017.

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Williams, who topped the list of top-earning female athletes released by Forbes last week, has long pushed the boundaries of on-court fashion with the US Open usually the tournament to see the most daring looks, including a denim skirt in 2004.

Williams is not the first sports star to compete in Off-White. World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe wore Off-White designed Nike Mercurial Vapor 360 boots at the end of last season for Paris Saint Germain.

Williams plays Germany’s Carina Witthoft in the round of 64 on Wednesday.