July 24, 2024
Serena Williams

Long before tunnel walks were trending and athletes were sitting front row at fashion weeks, Venus and Serena Williams were deftly blending athleticism and style. Tonight, at Vogue World 2024 in Paris, the sisters continued to put their mark on the intersection of sports and fashion, aptly walking in the tennis section of the show.

“I’ve always had a love for fashion and throughout my tennis career, that affinity grew even more,” Venus tells Vogue. “I truly believe that in order to perform your best, you need to feel your best; before a match, I always think [about] how I’ll feel in the clothes I wear, how I’ll move in them, how they’ll support me, et cetera. What you wear is so important in tennis.”

As a nod to the sport she dominated for over two decades, Venus walked the Vogue World 2024 show in a custom Marine Serre look crafted from repurposed tennis bags.

SERENA
Photo: Courtesy of Marine Serre

“This piece is a heartfelt tribute to my sporting roots,” Serre tells Vogue. “As many may know, I devoted most of my teenage years to the tennis courts, rigorously training and competing in tournaments before ultimately pursuing a career in fashion. Tennis bags were an integral part of my attire for years. These bags are woven into the fabric of my childhood memories and have profoundly shaped my approach to fashion.”

The structured silhouette—made over the course of “hundreds of hours” in the Paris atelier—features body-contouring panels as well as piping and embroidery from the original bags.

“Venus epitomizes the essence of female empowerment and strength,” Serre says, noting that the tennis star was the first Black player in history to reach the number one world ranking, and also spoke in favor of equal prize money for male and female players. “Who has a similar career except for Serena? I have the deepest admiration and respect for them. Venus represents the archetype of womanhood that I want to celebrate every day through my label.”

Venus, who has long admired Serre’s work and commitment to sustainability, was especially drawn to her Vogue World 2024 design. “Marine absolutely killed the look.” she says. “She really embodied femininity, athleticism, and chicness all in one. And most importantly, it makes me feel empowered and confident.”

Adding to the excitement was the opportunity to walk the Place Vendôme along with Serena. “Every time I get to work with my sister it’s always the best.” Venus says. “I’ve been so lucky to have her by my side for the most special moments throughout my career.”

Tonight, Serena is by her side in custom Off-White by Ib Kamara. “The idea was to represent Serena’s iconic career through Off-White’s sport aesthetic,” says Kamara, who, in addition to designing looks for Vogue World 2024, also helped to imagine the event. “The gown is primarily made of two different fabrics—a sport jersey top and silk georgette skirt. The graphics on the dress are a mix of Off-White codes and looks that Serena previously wore during her games.” And lest anyone forget Serena’s status as one of the greatest athletes of all time, “QUEEN OF QUEENS” is printed on the dress’s white paneling.

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Marc Piasecki/Getty Images

“I wasn’t really a tennis fan growing up, to be honest,” Kamara tells Vogue, “but I have the most vivid memory of watching Serena win a match and my sisters and me being so inspired by a Black woman being so visible and so powerful.”

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