Tennis and fashion are a match in Paris Venus Williams of the U.S. returns the ball to Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova during their match at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament in 2010 (Reuters / AP photo)
Tennis and fashion are a match in Paris
Lexile

Well before Andre Agassi caused a stir with his stone-washed denim shorts at the French Open, the clay courts at Roland Garros in Paris were a sporting catwalk. The courts were known almost as much for fashion as for world-class tennis.

Tennis fashion has come a long way. There was the corset-less, flowing dress worn by "La Divine" Suzanne Lenglen and designed by French creator Jean Patou. There was also the black-and-red outfit that Venus Williams designed. She wore it five years ago.

The tennis stadium is located in the chic western district of the French capital. It has always been a fashion hotspot.

"Players want to show their personality through their clothes," former player Tatiana Golovin told The Associated Press. Now an exhibition is recounting the links between fashion and tennis at the Roland Garros museum.

The exhibit is called "Game, Set and Fashion." It has more than 60 pieces of women's and men's clothing on display. Some never have been shown before. There's also pictures, posters and a focus on the fashion designers who made tennis fashion.

There are dresses and shorts, some dating back to 1890. Also included are a lavish male tennis coat, autographed outfits by the likes of Steffi Graf and Williams and a collection of tennis shoes.

The 27-year-old Golovin was forced to end her playing career early because of back problems. Now she is the exhibition ambassador. She says she enjoyed wearing pretty clothes when she was on court. But she would not have sported Venus black-and-red outfit. It brought more attention than her play at the 2010 French Open.

"I was a pundit for TV at the time. I remember the dress well," Golovin said.

Golovin is a fan of the tennis fashion from the 1960s. During that period, British designer Ted Tinling created dresses with innovative shapes, frills and furbelows. A furbelow is a frill or pleated border on a skirt.

"The tennis fashion in the 60's was really audacious," Golovin said. "The dresses were already very short, there were lace shorts. There was elegance. But it was daring at the same time. Outfits are less feminine today, more sporty."

The French Open is due to start on Sunday, May 24.

Critical thinking challenge: Why would stone-washed denim shorts cause a stir?

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COMMENTS (34)
  • ksadat-5
    5/22/2015 - 09:49 a.m.

    The tennis French Open used to be like a catwalk for athletes. The Roland Garros stadium is located in Paris, France, and has always been a big area regarding fashion. Former pro tennis player, Tatiana Golovin, explains that the personality of the tennis player is revealed by their clothing. The Roland Garros also has a museum with many exhibits for fans and players of tennis. The coolest one is the fashion exhibit, where people can see the tennis fashion.

    This is a very interesting article. I knew that everyone cares about what they wear, but I didn't know that tennis players try to express their personality in it.

  • vincentg-2
    5/22/2015 - 06:34 p.m.

    This article is about the fashion and tennis uniforms about women in France and how they are comparing contrasting. Now more than ever tennis outfits for women are more sporty and less revealing I am very proud of how we do not change how we think just because of people genders are racing.

  • MaggieM-3
    5/23/2015 - 05:17 p.m.

    Tennis is not only a high profile sport, but with its elegance and history comes a long line of fashion made specifically for the tennis players.An iconic moment in tennis fashion is the flowing dress " La Divine" Suzanne Lenglen wore. Another game changing fashion statement in the tennis world was worn and designed by Venus Williams, a red and black outfit. The French Open has always been particularly fashion forward and it starts on Sunday, May twenty-fourth. The stadium is the the Western part of France's capital, a very hip neighborhood. There is now even an exhibition on fashion and tennis' relationship with each other, at the Roland Garros museum.
    My aunt used to own her own line of tennis clothing that she designed her self. All of her designs were preppy and chic. I completely agree that tennis is a sport very focused on the fashion and have witnessed that first hand.

  • allyc522
    5/24/2015 - 09:38 p.m.

    I love this article. It is nice to see that the fashion world is actually coming into play with sports. Every time I go to the gym I make sure my outfit matches. It is nice to see that tennis players are finally waking up and smelling the roses when it comes to fashion. If you're on live television your outfit needs to match, no matter what you are doing. I really enjoyed this article.

  • NatalieV-5
    5/25/2015 - 06:26 p.m.

    Who would ever think that Roland Garros Tennis Stadium, located in Paris, would be a hotspot for tennis clothes. "The tennis stadium is located in the chic western district of the French capital. It has always been a fashion hotspot." Now there is an exhibit in Roland Garros museum called" Game, Set and Fashion." It has 60 plus items of clothing worn by men and women tennis players. Also, there are pictures,posters and a focus on the fashion designers who made tennis fashion.Some clothing items were dated back to the 1800s. It is odd to see that a tennis stadium in paris is a real hotspot for fashion. Also I think it is cool that the museum has an exhibit on fashion from tennis.

  • PhoebeG-Kut
    5/25/2015 - 09:59 p.m.

    WOW! I never even thought about the tennis players outfits. I can't believe they actually have a exhibit for tennis clothes. The exhibit is called "Game, Set and Fashion." It has more than 60 pieces of women's and men's clothing on display.

  • Ethangh-Par
    5/26/2015 - 12:43 p.m.

    Venus designed many of the clothes that tennis players wore in 2010. Clothes now are more sporty than feminine. I thought that when tennis players wore fashion that it would not be dri fit

  • KD-Par
    5/26/2015 - 12:48 p.m.

    I wonder if the fashion affected sports because they would admire the clothes instead of them admiring how they play.they might even be rude comments.

  • Jorge-Par
    5/26/2015 - 12:58 p.m.

    I think tennis is a cool spot but I've never played it before and if I play it I bet you I am not good at it

  • Hayleyg-OBr
    5/26/2015 - 01:55 p.m.

    Maybe the stone washed denim shorts would cause a stir because the audience didn't know that people would wear those kind of clothes when they were playing tennis. A lot of famous tennis players dress up in really weird and wacky clothes. I would hate wearing those kinds of clothes anytime, especially when playing sports. I think that wearing really good dress up clothes would be good to wear because for most people the clothes would be uncomfortable or too "fancy."

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