(ot) stella mccartney’s man, maybe?

My biological alarm clock, after 28 years, is finally blasting me awake (to the sound of Renée Montagne’s voice, of course). I am all ’bout the babies lately: the ones running around in the park, the ones being pushed in strollers by their hot dads, but never ever the ones crying in the middle of a tennis match. I’ve even started eyeing kids’ clothes! It doesn’t help that great collections abound, including the latest collaboration between Gap and Stella McCartney.

A pup in lamb’s clothing: This second installment (the first one dropped at the end of 2009) speaks to our love for rolled collars, side zip-front jackets, and nautical themes. While it’s nothing revolutionary, it makes us wonder if this is how Stella would design for grown men. (The girls get the usual Stella dose of frills, ruffles, pleats, eyelets, and droopy fabric.) Buy: New Yorkers have been chipping away at inventory for the past five days (via the Gap White Space pop-up). Now the rest of us can follow. Click here.

And at Fore Axel & Hudson, they’re churning out golf-inspired looks without the sport’s stuffy ‘tude. The same way that kids should be talked to like adults, Designer Paul Nguyen took a shrinking gun to silhouettes normally seen on the greens (cardigans, sweater vests) and re-sized them for the Spongebob set. Detailing is youthful, but not necessarily child-like; we love it. Check out the lookbook at foreaxelandhudson.com. (via DailyCandy)

(stella screengrabs via gap.com; FA&H screengrabs via foreaxelandhudson.com)

davydenko in dunlop: for your eyes only

Wanting what we can’t have: That sleek red Dunlop polo worn by Nikolay Davydenko at the 2010 BNP Paribas Open (last week) is purely for show; while there are other Dunlop tennis clothes available for sale in the U.S., the ones on Nikolay are from the European collection.

And speaking of things that are only for our eyes only, it seems that the optical illusion that is the Dunlop/Prince/Davydenko sponsorship triangle isn’t quite over. To recap:

The top Russian’s sponsorship deal with Dunlop was announced just before the start of Indian Wells. Especially in light of being in limbo with Prince, we were happy that Nikolay had monetized his achievements in some form for 2010.

Now you see it…: The deets of the agreement came in a press release via the Dunlop and ATP sites. Along with endorsing racquets, clothing, and accessories, Kolya would also speak up for the company’s junior talent identification program, called D-Squad.

Two days after the Dunlop announcement, Prince countered with their own releases stating that Kolya had signed a deal to be “an exclusive endorsee of Prince tennis racquets and Prince racquet bags” through 2010. This requires him to have a Prince stencil on his Ozone Tour rackets during the four slams. Off the court, there’s also a clause giving Prince the right to use the Davydenko image for advertising.

So both companies are sticking to their guns, but it doesn’t matter since Davydenko pulled out of Indian Wells. He felt pain in his wrist while playing Rotterdam in February (he lost in the semis to Soderling) but it was misdiagnosed. He continued playing through the injury until he got to the desert; after a hard-fought win over Ernests Gulbis in the second round, Kolya discovered a more serious condition — a broken wrist bone — and pulled out.

Now you don’t…: The Dunlop press release, along with the rest of the Dunlop site, is currently down because of a revamp. The Dunlop release is also no longer available via the ATP website. I wonder if this is any indication of which company successfully courted Kolya?

Blank slate: Nikolay has yet to test out any Dunlop racquets (he was using an unstenciled Prince stick during Indian Wells). And since he’s out for a few months — he’ll likely miss all of the clay season — it’ll be a while before he gets matched up with a Dunlop racquet (if at all).

(Davydenko image via Getty Images; Dunlop screengrabs via dunlopsports.com)

how sweet for loup

TSF’s excited for Loup, the tennis clothing line that got a write-up over at DailyCandy this week (and that usually means a kiss of life — is that the antonym? — for anything trying to make it big with the ladies these days). Flashback: TSF’s Nick McCarvel chatted with Loup owner Danielle Ribner back in September.

Almost in bloom: The spring/summer goods currently on pre-order, but we’ll remind you in a week or two when everything is actually for sale. (Keeping our fingers crossed that the branded canvas totes will eventually be produced for public consumption!)

(screengrab from DailyCandy)

(ot) the guys we’d be bomber girls for

The 2010 spring men’s collection from Balmain has taken our love for the military motif to the next level with an homage to the air force. They throw in a few other looks — motorcycle jackets, graphic tees (tigers!), requisite skinny pants, and some softer sweatshirts — to round out the rugged season.

View: The lookbook is available here; and you can pick up some of the goods here.

(images via balmain)

the strings and streaks of melanie oudin

While Melanie Oudin was busy making believers out of all of us, the one she really has to worry about is herself. (Photo via Getty Images)

It hasn’t been an easy year for Melanie Oudin. Since she rocketed to stardom at last year’s U.S. Open, the American teenager has struggled to marry her new-found life in the public eye with hard work off the tennis court. The result has been a topsy turvy tennis season that has left most of us wondering: What will happen to Melanie Oudin?

What most of us (including myself) have forgotten, is that before there was her run at Flushing Meadows or her stunning breakthrough at Wimbledon, she has spring success in North America last season with inspiring tennis at Charleston, Indian Harbour Beach (ITF) and Raleigh (ITF). It was a span of four weeks of tennis that saw Oudin lose just one out of 15 matches, sending her ranking from 177 in the world to number 125.

What we’ve learned about Oudin in the nine months that we’ve known her well (since she won six matches at Wimbledon last summer), is that she’s a streaky player. After her spring winning streak last year, she lost badly at the French Open the first round of qualifying, winning just one game in a match against Zuzana Ondraskova, ranked 192nd.

[Read more...]

slower traffic: keep right

Los Angeles catches the FeVer: Imagine our excitement upon seeing Fernando Verdasco‘s Calvin Klein X photos go up onto the company’s Sunset Boulevard billboard in West Hollywood, Calif. For those of you who aren’t familiar: this billboard is the first of many that drivers see if traveling west on Sunset.

Our morning commute just got a lot more interesting.

Bonus round: Speaking of billboards, make sure to check out the MAK Center’s How Many Billboards? project, which converted 21 ad spaces throughout the city into canvasses like these. Most of the installations will be up through March. (Read: Fast Company’s write-up.)

(via TennisToday; photo by Chuck Keenum)

nole darko

Yanking our chain (reaction): Though we’d rather see Novak Djokovic participate in another sort of chain, this one — involving a HEAD racquet, two geeks, and a whole lot of tennis balls — will suffice for now.

The racquet company’s newest campaign had the current ATP World No. 2 drumming up an idea for a chain reaction set-up triggered by swinging at a tennis ball (and eventually hitting a target).

To make it interesting, he and his friends upped the ante: if the experiment succeeded, Nole’s friends would have to wear pink bunny suits to one of his matches. If it failed, he’d have to wear the bunny costume to practice. (As long as tennis forever associates pink bunnies with Djokovic, we don’t really care how this turns out!)

Video: So how’d Nole fare? Check out the video above (it’s kinda sweet, so we’d rather not spoil it). And when you’re done, you can look at background info here.

Rewind: As you may remember, Djokovic was also the star of the “Speed Lessons” campaign, which came out a year ago.

Fast-forward: Brit Andy Murray‘s next up to bat. His video will be shot in the coming weeks and will debut later this year.

(image courtesy of HEAD)

kelly ready to out-tennis ramona, jill

In the past few weeks, Real Housewife Kelly Bensimon has made a push to become the most tennis-savvy of the New York ladies, first appearing with Venus at the Billie Jean King Cup in New York, and yesterday hosting a celebrity exhibition match in Miami.

TSF spoke with Kelly’s cast mates Ramona Singer and Jill Zarin at the Night of Legends tennis event in September. We wondered who Jill might pick as a doubles partner in a re-match of the two reality stars’ tennis duel. Maybe she should consider Kelly, no?

The ladies of the Real Housewives of New York are back on the small screen with their third season of cat fights and caviar.

(screen grab via wta web site)