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In the Spirit of Wimbledon,

we honor those who graced the grass runway…

Maria Sharapova

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[Photo by Alastair Grant / Associated Press]

Serena Williams

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[Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty Images]

Roger Federer

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[Photo by Anja Niedringhaus / Associated Press]

Venus Williams

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[Photo by Alastair Grant / Associated Press]

In the early days of Wimbledon, women were confined to long dresses with sleeves and stockings. But gradually, tennis became a vehicle for sartorial emancipation. Twenties-era champion Suzanne Lenglen was a style icon, thanks to her revolutionary attire, according to Diane Elisabeth Poirier’s book “Tennis Fashion.”

Jean Patou made her a fashionably functional knee-length, pleated skirt and sleeveless cardigan. And when Lenglen retired, she became a designer herself.

Other high-fashion designers followed Patou’s lead in designing tennis apparel, including Lanvin, Rochas, Schiaparelli and Hermès. And today, sportswear is a foundation of nearly every major fashion brand.

As the popularity of tennis soared, so did its stars, and athletes such as Fred Perry became the original celebrity designers. French player René Lacoste, nicknamed “the Crocodile” for his fierceness, introduced the Lacoste tennis shirt in 1929 with its embroidered alligator logo. That piqué, collared shirt became a wardrobe staple for men and women, and the foundation of the Ralph Lauren empire.

[Taken for LATimes]

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One Comment

  1. Posted July 7, 2008 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Oooh Roger makes me swoon! He is so delectable in his creamy cardigan 🙂


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