It feels like years ago I was typing out my fashion blog for the Australian Open while eating takeaways after a long day at the tennis. My tan’s faded and Melbourne is chilly, but the tennis goes on. Roland Garros is usually a Slam that struggles to inspire the absolute best in fashion, possibly due to the lack of night session and proximity to Wimbledon, but this year some of the top players have really stepped it up. One lady in particular has made a comeback both on and off the court with her self-designed label. You know who I’m talking about. Read on and let me know if you agree with my choices in the comments box below.
First there were rumours he’d gone to Nike. That opened a discussion about Sergio Tacchini, and how they’d failed to capitalise on the success of the world No.1 player. But Novak Djokovic stuck with them for a little while longer and in Rome played in an outfit that was little more than a Serbian flag. After that shambles, most Djokovic fans felt ready for the inevitable split and when it did happen chat started again about which company Djokvoic would represent come Roland Garros. I doubt anyone guessed it would be the brand that was revealed just hours after the announcement of the ST split, but Djokovic surprised by signing with Uniqlo, a Japanese company that also sponsors Kei Nishikori and will be looking to make a better job of providing Djokovic fans with quality clothing than ST ever did. Djokovic’s inaugural Uniqlo outfit isn’t all that different from ST; Serbian colours and a collar still feature. However where ST could be a bit gaudy come the Serbian theme, Uniqlo has toned it down to just a few red and white stripes. They may be going for a classic look, but it’s also a bit boring and the man who currently holds three of four Slams surely deserves to stand out a little more. Or maybe they’re just letting Djokovic’s tennis do the talking. Regardless, it’s a solid if not outstanding debut.
It isn’t often Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal wear similar outfits, but Nike have gone back to the black and fluorescent yellow colour scheme they used for Nadal’s ’10 US Open campaign. This time, however, it is Federer who is giving the flashy colours a go. Federer is, of course, wearing his trademark polo and the fit is (thankfully) completely different. Federer may be wearing more of a grey than a black, but the fluoro yellow combination is fantastic once again and makes Nike’s second player look like he can sting like a bee.
Last time Rafael Nadal wore pink at Roland Garros it didn’t work out too well for him; that year he was beaten by Robin Soderling. This time, though, Nike have disguised their colour choice by darkening it closer to a shade of red. On Twitter it was described as both cerise and fanta red, but no matter which way you try to cut it, (and Nike tries to sell it as scarlet fire), it’s still pink. Slightly more tones of berry, to be sure, but Nadal is going to need to break his pink jinx if he defends this Roland Garros title. He doesn’t look quite as threatening as Federer does, but Nadal hardly needs to amp up his danger factor in Paris. Despite his mismatched headband and sweat bands, he still manages to look alright in the hardest colour for any man to pull off.
If Fila were trying to represent Janko Tipsarevic’s personality through his latest outfit at Roland Garros, they’ve succeeded. His patterned clothing and bright orange accessories are humourous and eccentric, but also slightly offensive and certainly not to everyone’s tastes. Especially not my own; Tipsarevic’s matchy-matchy disaster is everything an outfit doesn’t need. By mixing grey, orange and white right down to his shoes, and then throwing in busy pattern on top of that, Fila have tried just too hard and fallen flat on their face. But Tipsarevic likes to stand out from the crowd and he does just that
Seemingly tired of the endless colour trends, Maria Sharapova whipped up a LBD for this year’s Roland Garros and stands out all the more for it. Impossibly close-fitting, Sharapova’s dress walks a line between sexy and sporty without stumbling once. The dark green detailing prevents the dress from looking like it belongs in a nightclub and ups the originality factor. Sharapova has once again helped design a winner. No points for picking her post-tennis career.
Venus Williams is the designer of the most original clothes on tour, but sometimes she can get carried away with details and, erm, illusions. Her latest number for her own clothing line is incredibly unique and eye-catching without being a dress nobody else could pull off. It’s a little bit ’60s, and little bit sexy, and there’s no reason Venus couldn’t team this number with black stockings and heels for post-match drinks at the bar. Possibly the thing I love most about this dress? Venus has brought back the sleeves. Finally, someone has recognised that not all dresses need be strappy.
Victoria Azarenka may be the world No.1 but it seems Nike haven’t quite figured out her personality. For the Australian Open, Azarenka played up her rockstar image with tiny shorts and singlets to complement her hoodies and headphones. It seemed a perfect match for the brash Belarussian who is more skater girl than designer chic. But for Azarenka’s first Slam as the world No.1, Nike have decided she’d be prettier in pink with frills. It’s by no means a bad colour choice- Azarenka looks nice with the orange details and pink outfit, but the design is nothing short of hideous. It’s too girly and doesn’t fit well. Far from flattering, this dress does nothing for Azarenka. Bring back the shorts and attitude.
There’s putting nicknames on shoes and then there’s designing a whole outfit around a nickname. No one would dress Nadal in a bull costume, so why Caroline Wozniacki is prancing around the court looking suspiciously like a ray of sunshine beats me. Not only does the orange, yellow and red outfit wash her out completely, it clashes against the clay court. The design itself is a completely uninspired singlet and skirt. Just because Wozniacki has dropped in the rankings doesn’t mean she can’t sell clothing. Stella McCartney wouldn’t send this down the runway for her ready to wear collection so I have no idea why she’s approved it for sport.
That wraps up this year’s French Open fashion picks. Agree? Disagree? Someone I missed? I want to hear about it!
by Kait O'Callahan
Images by AP photo and Getty Images via Daylife