Serena Williams Made Another Empowering Fashion Statement at the French Open
Her outfit was designed by Virgil Abloh in collaboration with Nike.
Serena Williams is turning heads at the French Open, and it's not just her impressive tennis skills drawing in the crowd.
For her first match on Monday, the U.S. champion arrived at the Stade Roland Garros arena in Paris sporting a striped, off-white monochrome ensemble made up of three pieces: a sporty crop top, flowy bottoms, and a warm-up cape donning the words "Champion," "Queen," "Goddess," and "Mother" in French down the athlete's sleeves and back. The outfit was designed by Virgil Abloh in collaboration with Nike. (Related: Serena Williams Wore a Green Bodysuit and Fishnets to the Australian Open, Because She Is a #QUEEN)
Williams pulled out the W in round one, and it's safe to say the athlete's fashion prowess proved just as fierce as her skills on the court. Many people are speculating that Williams' tennis outfit wasn't just a style statement, but a subtle nod to the controversy that surrounded the bodysuit she wore at last year's French Open. (ICYMI: Serena Williams Dominates the French Open In a Wakanda-Inspired Catsuit)
"They tried to say 'no catsuit', so I'm gonna give you COMPLETE GLAMOUR!!!! Yes Queen!!!! Show out completely!!!!!" wrote one Instagram commenter. "Their heads are going to EXPLODE!!! I love it!!!" wrote another.
To recap, Serena Williams' outfit at the 2018 French Open sparked some tension between her and the French Tennis Federation. Williams said her bodysuit was meant to inspire women—particularly new moms like herself—not to mention it was also a way to support her health: After giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia, Williams experienced a number of health complications, most notably blood clotting. To help keep circulation flowing, the tennis champion started wearing pants when she played, she told The Guardian.
"It's a fun suit but it's also functional, so I can be able to play without any problems," Williams explained of the outfit.
Unfortunately, French Tennis Federation president, Bernard Giudicelli subsequently banned the suit and enacted a new dress code for the tournament, telling the Associated Press that "one must respect the game and the place."
The controversy continued a few days later when Williams showed up to the U.S. Open wearing a tulle tutu over a bodysuit, a move that many felt was a silent clapback to the French Tennis Federation's new dress code.
Despite all of that, though, there doesn't seem to be any bad blood between Williams and Giudicelli. "I feel like if and when, or if [the French Tennis Federation] know that some things are for health reasons, then there's no way that they wouldn't be okay with it," Williams clarified in a press conference back in August of 2018. "So I think it's fine. The president of the French Federation, he's been really amazing. He's been so easy to talk to. My whole team is basically French, so, yeah, we have a wonderful relationship." (Related: Serena Williams Just Called Her Body a "Weapon and Machine" and We Love Her for It)
As for this year's French Open, Williams hasn't explicitly commented on any of her outfit choices; it seems like she's letting the designs speak for themselves. Either way, there's no question that fans are on the edge of their seat waiting to see what the tennis champ will do next.