Fashion and tennis have always had a symbiotic relationship. Just look at the most recent US Open where tennis officials, ball collectors and ball girls sported all manner of Ralph Lauren merchandise. And tennis-inspired sets have also made their way into the runway collections not only from Ralph Lauren but from a host of fashion and designer brands like Michael Kors, Brooks Brothers, Thom Browne. To infinity. And of course you have tennis champions like Serena and Venus Williams who continue to push the boundaries of what you can wear on the tennis court.
So it’s no surprise to see a constellation of tennis stars at the Costume Institute’s Met Ball last Monday, chaired by Anna Wintour. Anyone who follows the event and reads Vogue knows that Wintour is passionate about tennis. She regularly features tennis players on the cover and pages of her magazine and has repeatedly invited some of them (read: Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova) to sit with her front row at parades fashion and Met Balls’ past.
And with quadruple Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka as this year’s Met Gala co-chair, it was a winning formula for fashion and tennis. (Between her, Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Sloane Stephens and recent US Open winner Emma Raducanu, the women won a total of 40 Grand Slam titles at this year’s gala.)
For her first Met Ball, Naomi Osaka collaborated with Louis Vuitton designer Nicolas Ghesquiere and her sister Mari for her dress that sought to represent her multicultural background. It was a colorful printed silk dress with a red obi belt style sash and topped with a cascade of black cape-shaped ruffles.
Serena Williams sported a fabulous cape made of tiered upon tiered shaded feathers. Under the cape was a lace catsuit studded with pink stars. Both were Gucci’s Alessandro Michele who Williams thanked on Instagram “for making my superhero fashion dreams come true.”
Venus Williams channeled classic Hollywood glamor in a scarlet gown with a dramatic bow and long train by Prabal Gurung. Her architectural hairstyle added to the overall drama of her look. Sloane Stephens was also in red, who wore a fiery robe with a keyhole cutout on the bodice and an Aliétte slit.
Emma Raducanu, fresh out of her magical run as the 2021 US Open champion, made her Met Gala debut in a black-and-white printed Chanel issue that featured the fashion house’s icons: pearls and camellias. US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez also donned a black and white dress. It was a black and white horizontal striped mini dress by Carolina Herrera inspired by the Carolina Herrera ball gowns the Williams sisters wore for a Vogue photo shoot in 1998.
Fernandez’s compatriot Felix Auger Aliassime looked dashing in a white tuxedo jacket. Matteo Berrettini showed up in a classic bespoke Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo and on his arm was his girlfriend and 2021 Wimbledon quarter-finalist Alja Tomljanovic, wearing a sparkling flapper-style gown also from Dolce & Gabbana. . Tomljanovic’s dress featured the words New York and its glittering skyscrapers rendered in sequins.
And Maria Sharapova, faithful to the champion she is, wore a gold dress with voluminous pleated sleeves in recycled materials from Gabriela Hearst.
Fashion game, set, match.