Abloh, Off-White unite for ‘Queen Collection’

This is one collection that’s fit for a queen.

According to Fashionista, designer Virgil Abloh has teamed up with Italian streetwear brand Off-White and Nike to create a collection of trendy athleticwear specifically with Serena Williams in mind. Aptly named the “Queen Collection,” Fashionista says the selection will include new pieces, as well as limited-edition takes on Abloh standards, offering

“…a dress in black and white for both day and nighttime play, a bomber jacket, a bag, a glittery pair of NikeCourt Flare 2 sneakers and limited-edition styles of Abloh’s previous Nike collaboration The 10, which includes a Nike Air Max 97 and The 10: Nike Blazer Mid SW with gradient-colored soles — a design that leaked online back in April.”

All of these pieces are making their debut at the U.S. Open’s 50th edition tournament in New York at the end of August, says Fashionista, and will range in price from $130 to $900. Despite the price tag, sewn within the heart of each piece comes the spirit of its muse, says Fashionista, something Abloh said he was careful to capture.

What I love about tennis is the gracefulness. It’s an aggressive and powerful game, but it takes touch and finesse,” Abloh said in an statement. “So the dress is feminine, but combines her aggression. It’s partially revealing. It’s asymmetrical. It has a sort of ballerina-esque silhouette to symbolize 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.”

With a collaborative design process backing up his workmanship, Fashionista says the Italian-sourced materials and attention to detail all play into the collection’s dedication to Williams, even using “a body form specific to Williams’s figure” to create the garments, all of which will “will be available at select Nike and NikeLab retailers, as well as Nike.com.”

 

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U.S. Open changes pregnancy leave penalty

After Serena Williams returned to the court of the French Open following her maternity leave for daughter Alexis Olympia, the world-renowned athlete entered the tournament at a ranking of No. 453 — where she was previously ranked at No. 1; but now, Glamour reports that the backlash from the move has caused the U.S. Open to revisit and revise their rules.

According to Glamour, the French Open organization has “now spoken out to announce a change in post-maternity protocol, one that will no longer penalize any female player returning to the sport after pregnancy.” But that’s not all: the U.S. Open is also making similar changes, says Glamour, “creating a special protection on seedings for women who return to the sport post-pregnancy.”

In an interview with the New York TimesGlamour says U.S. Tennis Association (which oversees the U.S. Open) president and chairwoman Katrina Adams not only explained the decision as the “right thing to do,” but also as a move toward achieving social parity.

“We are all about social justice and equality, and this is definitely an instance of equality,” she said. “We think it’s a good message for our current female players and future players: It’s OK to go out and be a woman and become a mother and then come back to your job, and I think that’s a bigger message.”

Also the bigger message: making sure Williams gets her due as one of the best athletes of all time.

“Serena Williams is arguably the greatest player to ever play, with 23 Grand Slam titles,” Adams continued, according to Glamour. “She deserves the respect to be put in that position.”

Serena makes tennis court appearance in catsuit

Tennis phenom and world-class athlete Serena Williams made her return to Grand Slam tennis recently, and she did so in superhero fashion.

According to Reuters, Williams took to the French Open wearing a black catsuit befitting a Marvel superhero — or at least, that’s how she explained her outfit.

“‘I call it like my Wakanda-inspired catsuit. It’s really fun,” she said, Reuters reports,  referencing the fictional Sub-Saharan African nation which is home to superhero Black Panther in Marvel Comics. ‘I feel like a warrior in it, like a warrior princess kind of, queen from Wakanda maybe.'”

Explaining it as her way of being a superhero, Williams did pose a different reasoning for her catsuit: health. After “health concerns over blood clots” after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia in September, Reuters says Williams offered that the catsuit is a practical (and stylish) solution to keeping her blood flowing regularly.

“Yeah, the catsuit, I had a lot of problems with my blood clots, and, God, I don’t know how many I have had in the past 12 months,” she explained. “So it is definitely a little functionality to it. I have been wearing pants in general a lot when I play so I can keep, you know, the blood circulation going.”

Who knew functionality could be so stylish — and superhero-ish?

Williams launches self-titled fashion collection

She’s already at the top of the sports world, and now, she’s coming in hot into the world of fashion.

According to Vogue, tennis superstar and all-around badass Serena Williams has just launched her own “direct-to-consumer fashion collection of sportswear and eveningwear” in which “every piece is under $250.”

Simply called “Serena,” Vogue says the line contains 12 items that “spans underwear, denim, tees, jackets, and an olive green silk crepe slip dress,” though the collection will expand throughout the summer and fall with new releases.

As for Williams’ influence in the line, Vogue says the phenom hand-selected the material for the slip dress to ensure that it was different that others offered on the market.

“The slip dress is so classic, and I wanted to bring it in more of a silk crepe, something that has more texture. You know, usually silk slips are just smooth—which I love—but I wanted to do something different,” she told Vogue. “You know I love to be different.”

And being different is something she is hoping to achieve in another way — by making pieces from the line as affordable and quality as possible, without compromising either.

“We want people to be able to actually look good and not have to overpay for it,” she told Vogue. “That’s what I want to do. I want to make pieces that you look good in, that aren’t outrageously priced.”

Ready to shop the collection? Click here.

Williams stars in Nike commercial

We all know that Serena Williams is the greatest of all time, but a recent Nike commercial is making sure we have no doubts about it.

According to The Cut, the tennis powerhouse was featured in a brand-new commercial for Nike that debuted during the Academy Awards to celebrate recently-passed International Women’s Day. Showing a highlight reel of her illustrious career, Williams delivered the most inspiring voice over:

“I’ve never been the right kind of woman. Over-sized and over-confident. Too mean if I don’t smile. Too black for my tennis whites. Too motivated for motherhood. But I’m proving time and time again that there’s no wrong way to be a woman.”

Ending on the words, “Until we all win,” The Cut reports Nike said in a release that the ad aims to “recognize and celebrate the contributions and achievements of women everywhere and share our belief in gender equality, in this case, delivered by Serena Williams, the greatest athlete of all time.”

The G.O.A.T., indeed. Watch the ad in full right here.

Venus Williams celebrates Serena’s win

We always knew that sisters and tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams were the pinnacle of athletic achievement. Now we know they are also the ultimate siblings.

According to Elite Daily, after Serena won the Australian Open — and her 23rd Grand Slam title — over Venus in the championship match, Venus made it clear that she is her sister’s biggest supporter and most ardent fan.

Taking the podium after the match, Elite Daily says Venus began a short speech by acknowledging Serena as her “little sister,” stirring applause from the crowd. But then Elite Daily reports Venus let the world know just how proud she is of her sister:

“Congratulations Serena on number 23, I have been right there with you. Some of them I have lost against you. I guess that’s weird but it’s true. But it’s been an awesome thing, your win has always been my win, I think you know that. And all the times I wouldn’t be there, couldn’t be there or didn’t get there, you were there. I’m enormously proud of you, you mean the world to me.”

Following Venus’s speech, Serena returned the love and admiration back to her sister.

“There is no way I would be at 23 without her, there is no way I would be at one without her, there’s no way I would have anything without her,” she said, according to Elite Daily. “She is my inspiration.”

And they are both our inspirations. Congratulations to them both.

Williams wants women to reach for the stars

Serena Williams didn’t want to just be the best female tennis player in the world; she wanted to be the best. Period.

That’s what the tennis phenom wrote in an open letter published in Porter Magazine’s Incredible Women of 2016 issue, according to Women in the World. Sharing that she was able to achieve her dreams partly because of the support she received, Women in the World says Williams wrote, “I was fortunate to have a family that supported my dream and encouraged me to follow it.”

However, she knows that not all women have the same support system behind them while some are even discouraged from following their passions. Women in the World reports that for Williams, whether or not to pursue her dreams all boiled down to her resilience.

“What others marked as flaws or disadvantages about myself — my race, my gender — I embraced as fuel for my success,” she wrote. “I never let anything or anyone define me or my potential. I controlled my future.”

Through sharing her story, Williams wrote in her letter that she hopes young women will be inspired to take control of their destinies and “push for greatness and follow their dreams with steadfast resilience,” because when we continue to dream big, “we empower the next generation of women to be just as bold in their pursuits.”

To read her letter in its entirety, click here.

 

Williams offers winning advice

Serena Williams isn’t just a world-class tennis champion, she is also a sagacious advice giver.

According to Voguethe tennis superstar offered a healthy dose of positivity this week following an appearance at the opening of a new Nike store in SoHo on Nov. 10. In a Facebook Live chat for Vogue.com, Williams offered her best advice on how to endure adversity.

To keep herself from quitting when times get tough, Vogue says Williams told her fans to never quit.

“I don’t want to quit. Figuratively, in a match, or in my career—that’s easy … You can’t be defeated. Every experience makes you; it’s important to keep fighting. It sounds cliché, ‘Never give up,’ but that actually means a lot.”

Thank you, Serena. We needed that.

Athletes are ‘unlimited’ in new Nike ad

The recent Rio Olympic games showcased the athletic prowess of female athletes around the world, with many from the United States rising to the top. But their dominance doesn’t stop there.

According to ELLE, some of the best female athletes around star in a new ad for Nike called “Unlimited Pursuit,” part of their “Unlimited” campaign “celebrating power, beauty, and pursuit of athletic perfection.”

The video features Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas of this year’s “Final Five” gymnastics team, as well as Serena Williams, Scout Bassett, Elena Delle Donne and Allyson Felix, reports ELLE.

Nike spoke of the athletes in the ad, says ELLE, explaining their paramount significance this way:

“Recovering from setbacks, losses and injury, rising from obscurity and destroying obstacles to claim victory, they command the spotlight and inspire Nike to innovate to match their strength and their dreams.”

To watch the inspirational ad, click here.

 

Williams for the win

Serena Williams has proven yet again that she is one of the best athletes there is.

On Saturday, July 9, the tennis powerhouse cruised to a 7-5, 6-3 victory in the Wimbledon women’s finals, beating Angelique Kerber to take home her seventh singles title at the tournament, according to the USA TODAY. This win was also her 22nd Grand Slam singles title, which tied the Open Era record held by Steffi Graf, says the USA TODAY.

Throughout the entire match, the USA TODAY reports that “Kerber only managed one break point opportunity” and it was “quickly erased by a Williams ace, one of the 13 she struck in the match.”

Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, told the USA TODAY that the invincible Serena he saw on the court on Saturday was the “true Serena” he’s always known.

“Today, when she’s in trouble, 15-30: boom, boom. This is Serena. When she needs to lift her level, to close: boom, she does it. This is Serena. I didn’t see that for eight month,” he said, referring to the slow starts she faced coming off of tough losses like that of the 2015 U.S. Open, in which she fell to Roberta Vinci.

So how did Williams overcome prior defeat? The USA TODAY reports that Williams had this to say on regaining her confidence on the court:

“I had to start looking at positives, not focusing on that one loss per tournament — which really isn’t bad, and anyone else on this tour would be completely happy about it,” she said. “Once I started focusing more on the positives, I realized that I’m pretty good.  Then I started playing a little better.”

Congratulations, Serena, on your well-deserved win!