venus: the forever 21 of tennis



Objects on TV are nicer than they appear: We’re not going to lie — watching Venus Williams play her first-round Wimbledon match left us deflated (and no, it wasn’t the grueling workout we just finished, we’re sure); that repurposed wedding gown just did not look good on the decorated AELTC vet as she gracefully pranced around the court in a first-round clinic over Akgul Amanmuradova. The scoreline: 6,3-6-1. (Brackets: Chris has Venus dropping out in the round of 16.)

And about that lace jumpsuit with gold trim (Golden Girls meets Project Runway?): le sigh. On TV, the shorts seemed a little too billowy, especially since we’ve seen how Venus can rock a cute pair of hot pants on the Wimbledon lawns. The gold-zippered top flopped in awkward ways as she hit her groundstrokes. The sleeves seemed as though they were missing whole panels.

(At least her trends are on point, ish? Venus, on her outfit: “Jumpers are very ‘now,”‘ she explained, “as is lace.” As is gold, really. That’s the advantage to producing one-offs for match play: your design schedule is not beholden to the super-long lead time associated with retail.)

Suprisingly, it all seemed to come together in the photos snapped during the match (see below). Just a good photographer? Maybe we were glancing up at the TV at the wrong time? Anyway, it doesn’t matter, since no one can buy this stuff. Picture worth a thousand words, but zero dollars in revenue.

More photos: Check out other looks at Venus’ EleVen outfit after the cut…

venus’ heart is in argentina



Is Venus Williams playing for the country of Argentina for this Australian Open? Sure looks to be the case.

After the cut: Our favorite Day One look from the male side of things. [Read more...]

players manage balancing act while prepping for nyc’s big show



Kim Clijsters threw out the first pitch after meeting the Mets team in Queens on Friday in New York. A day earlier, she was the USTA’s guest of honor at the draw ceremony (AP photo via Yahoo! Sports).

RalphLauren.com pulled out all the stops on Thursday afternoon for an event featuring Venus Williams, in which Venus took questions from online submissions from around the world in a live clinic. At the Sportime Randall’s Island tennis center in New York, Venus was on court for the first time in a public setting since her eyebrow-raising loss to Tsvetana Pironkova in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. But instead of thwacking errors and a look of confusion, Venus was all smiles and tennis knowledge in the clinic, which was hosted by the British TV personality (and former player) Annabel Croft.

Venus, who is the no. 3 seed at the US Open and one of the favorites though she hasn’t been on tour in two months, talked fitness, forehands and gave plenty of tennis tips from her 26 years of experience on the court. The event was hosted by Ralph Lauren and Mercedes Benz, based on RL’s homepage for viewers to log in and watch live while Venus answered questions relayed by Croft. (Watch a full replay of the clinic here or click on the image after the jump.)

“It’s good for me to remember the basics when I’m about to play a big tournament,” Venus said, referring to the Open. Venus partnered with Ralph Lauren in the design of the dress she wore, a white number emblazoned with the logo of Eleven, Venus’s clothing line.

Guests were greeted with sweet mint tea, pistachio ice cream sandwiches and caramelized popcorn on the upper deck at Randall’s Island, which hosts the New York Sportimes during the World Team Tennis seasons. Male models clad in red Ralph Lauren polos dished out the goods as Venus strode through the crowd on her way to hair and make up (this was a live, online clinic, after all).

The clinic was a part of a myriad of events happening in New York this week, which all lead up to the big show at Flushing Meadows starting on Monday.

[Read more...]

eleven’s gilt sale is on — what’s next?



Alright, ladies, you finally have a chance to own a Venus Williams dress via the EleVen sale on Gilt.com. Included in this drop are the buzz-worthy dresses that we’ve seen her wear in the last two years: the Tie Dye Slip Dress (aka the can-can dress) from Miami ’10, $99; the Goddess Dress from Wimbledon ’08, $79; the Tie-Dye Halter Dress from Miami ’09, $89; and the Slit Front Dress from Melbourne ’10, $89.

Not pictured is a pink version of the beautiful Double Cross Back Dress, which appeared during Venus’ doubles play (with Serena) at Wimbledon ’09, $79.

We caught up with Venus at the Ralph Lauren Legends Clinic yesterday to ask her about the Gilt sale. She expressed excitement about seeing her designs again come to life; her team has taken a long time (and is still in the process of) replacing Steve & Barry, the now-defunct company that used to manufacture and sell her line.

And what’s the next step for Venus? She hinted at new EleVen designs appearing in future Gilt sales. For now, we’ll occupy ourselves with what’s been put out.

(screengrabs via Gilt)

dreaming about eleven? gilty as charged



Venus WIlliams moves closer to making her designs, under the EleVen brand, available to the masses. As she mentioned in an interview with Sports Illustrated earlier this summer, she’s partnering with Gilt Groupe to sell a limited run of her dresses. They go on sale tomorrow.

Nude-colored undies? No thanks: Which dresses are you hoping to see? Our top pick: that flapper dress from this year’s Wimbledon. (And perhaps she’ll surprise us with that crocheted dress that appeared in our dreams last month…)

On your mark…: The sale starts on Friday, August 27, at 9am Pacific. We hope you snag something good!

(screengrab via Gilt.com)