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.”

 

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 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.

Murray serves up essay on gender equality

Having an ally in the fight for gender equality is always a plus. And thanks to tennis star Andy Murray, female athletes in tennis and beyond are getting yet another advocate for securing level playing field — or court.

According to HuffPost, Murray penned an essay for BBC Magazine on “the importance of gender equality in tennis and in all sports,” a topic he learned much about after hiring Amelie Mauresmo, a former professional tennis player who he hired as a coach between 2014 and 2016. It was in this experience, HuffPost sayswhere Murray witnessed firsthand the sexism that plagued her every day, and it was here where he learned he could no longer keep silent on this issue.

Commenting on the tenacity of male and female tennis players, Murray offered that there is no difference between athletes of different genders.

“People often underestimate the amount of work that it takes to become a top tennis player,” he wrote. “And that work ethic is the same whether you are a man or a woman…Anyone who has spent any time with any of the top women will know that they make those same sacrifices and are as determined and committed to winning as any of the top men on the tour.”

Murray concluded his essay by asserting his hope for the future, says HuffPost, offering that a “level playing field” may be coming soon. We hope he’s correct!

To read his essay in full, click here.

 

 

 

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.