SBD/January 20, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Bad Fashion At Australian Open Continues To Be A Hot Topic

Many feel Williams' dress is an early candidate for worst tennis outfit of the year
The Australian Open "can best be described as a fashion nightmare, with the focus of the competition appearing to shift from, 'who's got the best backhand,' to 'who's got the sluttiest outfit,'" according to Belinda White of the London TELEGRAPH. It is "impossible to believe that tennis used to be such an impeccably stylish sport." Like all fashion, tennis apparel "lost its way somewhat in the '80s and '90s, and then the arrival of tennis power siblings, Venus and Serena Williams, onto 'the circuit' changed the sport forever." For "every trophy the pair added to their bulging cabinet, their outfits became brasher, louder and more overtly sexual." We are "only three weeks into 2011," but Venus' second-round "canary-yellow, peek-a-boo lattice-style dress with abstract floral printed satin micro-skirt will take some beating on this year's worst-dressed lists." Tennis is "crying out for a style icon to lead it out of the sartorial mess it's in." Maria Sharapova "showed early promise, turning up on the red carpet of many a fashionable event looking on-trend, but quickly descended into the pit of performance fabrics" (London TELEGRAPH, 1/20). In London, Luke Leitch wrote Williams' dress "should be the runaway contender for the sport's worst ever outfit," but "shockingly, it isn't." There are "plenty of other viable nominees for this accolade," and "all of them have been worn by Venus herself." She "may be an all-time great tennis player -- but she is an all-time awful fashion designer" (, 1/19).

EVERYONE'S A CRITIC:'s Greg Couch wrote Williams' Australian Open dresses are "not good designs," and they "don't even look good on her." Couch: "You just don't create a crafts project, wear it and call it a success." It is "becoming an event now to see what Williams is going to wear, moreso than how she's going to play." Couch: "What is she suddenly trying to stand out for? ... Maybe this is a last gasp to define herself? Or maybe it's about the power and courage to make loud statements, to tell the world she knows she has arrived" (, 1/19). In London, Mark Hodgkinson wrote the "yellow lattice and rainbow print confection" Venus wore for her second-round match appeared to suggest that she is "turning into the Lady Gaga of tennis, dressing with the intent to shock, delight and horrify the sport's chattering classes." In the "three hours that Williams was on court, she was offending everyone's eyes" (, 1/19).

MORE CRIMES AGAINST FASHION:'s Richard Pagliaro wrote Fernando Verdasco "fuses the good looks of a fashion model with what looks like a style choice that Sponge Bob would wear to a rave." It is "as if an artist's rendition of a MapQuest route was retraced on the front of his pink shirt in magic marker." David Nalbandian "looked like a thickened candy cane in his white Yonex shirt with red swirls" during his first-round match at the Australian Open. And Caroline Wozniacki "continues to experience fashion growing pains in her latest Stella McCartney-designed dress." While the "bottom of the ballerina dress flows fluidly, as if designed for dance, the top looks oddly unfinished, as if the sheer side panels that promote the pop of orange in the bra beneath weren’t fully completed" (, 1/19).
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