Serena Williams responded to the controversy she faced for wearing a black catsuit at the French Open in the best way possible: by taking home her first victory of the 2018 U.S. Open, and wearing a stylish look by designer Virgil Abloh in the process.
Williams, 36, dominated the court in her match against Magda Linette from Poland, advancing to the second round of the tournament. And she wowed not only with her unbelievable skills, but also with her chic one shoulder dress, a pleated tulle skirt, fishnet stockings and custom sparkly Off-White sneakers that featured her name on the outer sole, all designed by the Louis Vuitton creative director and Off-White chief executive in partnership with Nike.
Abloh shared videos sitting courtside at the match on Monday night, and posted a photo of tennis champion’s look. “willing to design dresses for her for life,” the fashion designer wrote. (Abloh’s Instagram also shows that Williams’ bag has the text “AKA QUEEN” written on it.)
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In May, Williams stepped out in a skin-tight black Nike catsuit to make her return to the game following a 14-month hiatus after the birth of her daughter at the French Open that she said made her feel like a “queen from Wakanda.” But the French Tennis Federation didn’t approve.
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According to the Associated Press, the French Tennis Federation will be introducing a new dress code for future tournaments.
“I think that sometimes we’ve gone too far,” French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli explained to the Associated Press in reference to Williams’ catsuit.
“It will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place,” Giudicelli added.
However, Williams’ spandex catsuit not only made her “feel like a warrior,” but also nearly saved her life.
Following the birth of daughter Alexis Olympia in Sept. 2017, Williams suffered a number of health setbacks. “I’ve had a lot of problems with my blood clots, God I don’t know how many I’ve had in the past 12 months,” Williams explained at a news conference in May, according to NPR.
She said, “I’ve been wearing pants in general a lot when I play so I can keep the blood circulation going.”
Despite the internet’s fury, Williams is taking the news of the banning in stride. The tennis star told reporters at the U.S. Open on Saturday, laughing, “Everything’s fine, guys,” and joked, “When it comes to fashion you don’t want to be repeat offender. It’ll be a while before this even has to come up again.”