Serena Williams is one of the greatest athletes of all time. The 23-time Grand Slam champion has won four Olympic gold medals and has earned more than $86 million in prize money over the course of her career.
She's also endured years of criticism from tennis insiders who've critiqued her hair, her body and her clothing choices. Most recently, French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli told Tennis Magazine that the full-body catsuit Williams wore at the 2018 French Open (meant to help prevent blood clots following the birth of her first child) would not be allowed next year, because "one must respect the game and the place."
Williams responded gracefully, saying that Giudicelli was "a great guy" and that her team would work with the French Tennis Federation to find a solution. She also appeared at the U.S. Open this week with an entirely new look — a one-shoulder black dress with a ballerina-style tutu skirt, as well as a leather jacket and silver sneakers.
"You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers," tweeted Nike.
According to Vogue, the outfit was designed by Louis Vuitton designer Virgil Abloh in collaboration with Nike. The dress costs $500, and the jacket is $900.
"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 tells Vogue. "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."
By Williams' assessment, the bold look gets the job done. "I felt so feminine in the tutu," she tells Vogue, "which is probably my favorite part of it. It really embodies what I always say: that you can be strong and beautiful at the same time."
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