This will be the first time I have blogged about tennis which is odd because it’s pretty much the one sport which I’m DEEPLY passionate about.  I watch the slams and follow the ATP and WTA tours avidly.  Selfishly, I have here my tribute to fashion in tennis since it’s of course Wimbledon time (going to see the semi finals this year!) and we have seen smidges of tennis styling – that lux preppy look all over the S/S06 catwalks.   

I am particularly interested in the history of women’s tennis fashion in the Wimbledon tournament because there has been some standout players, both in their game and with what they wear.  Maud Watson, winner of Wimbledon in 1884-5 caused outrage with her ankle length loose skirts as opposed to the usual floor length ones.

Then the wonderful Suzanne Lenglen came onto the scene after the first world war and really revolutionised women’s tennis fashion.  Applying makeup between sets was just the tip of her glamourous image.  She wore creations by the French couturier Jean Patou that looked like ballet costumes, all clingy and filmy with brightly coloured cardigans and white silk stockings twisted into place with a French coin.  Her trademark was a dramatic bandeau fastened with a diamond clasp and even more extravagant were the fur coats she always wore even during the sweltering heat.  I love the way she strikes a pose with each shot and how her tennis dresses are glamourous but still allow her to move.  By far, the most graceful and chic tennis player of all time.

During the 70’s , there were many a tennis fashion disaster but Chris Evert always managed to look great in her Ted Tinling designed dresses. 

In recent times, tennis fashion has mainly been pretty stale but a few have broken through for their *ahem* interesting fashion choices.  Anne White caused tabloid headlines for her white jumpsuit ensemble at Wimbledon.  Serena Williams is often slammed/revered for her daring choices.  Rarely, does she stick to the ‘all white’ rule at Wimbledon and caused a bit of a sensation with a black catsuit two years ago. 

This year, Maria Kirilenko, another Russian tennis babe (in the vein of Kournikova and Sharapova) has topped my list of most stylish in women’s tennis sporting the Stella McCartney for Adidas dresses.  Kirilenko is actually the muse for the spring/summer collection which probably explains why she looks amazing in the dusky pink dress.  I love the very feminine approach to sportswear and tennis is one of the few sports where you can wear a dress and it wouldn’t inhibit your play so why not take advantage of it. 

Grazia magazine this week, in keeping with the start of Wimbledon has a very moody Match Point tennis-themed editorial.  I feel like I have seen this lux preppy look all over the place – the visors in Prada, all the blinding white, luxury polo shirts and as much as unimaginative preppy bores the hell out of me – injecting the look with luxury details like silk dresses and dressier shoes seems like a pretty fine idea.  Not a look I would actually wear to play tennis, but hanging around Wimbledon in a similar ensemble eating strawberries and cream will be fab. 

Now I will be curteous enough to give Sienna Miller enough credit to say she has been a trendsetter and style role model to many people.  I found some of her 2004-05 outfits rather adorable and the girl does look great in ankle boots and miniskirts.  However, of late, I thought she had gone off everyone’s style radar, as more and more people discover she has off days.  This outfit was panned pretty much everywhere by gossip mags and the infamous Go Fug Yourself girls.  Yet lo and behold, a few days later, mysteriously as the weather turned up a notch in London, I saw no less than five girls donning one-piece bathing suits with a mini skirt over it and some casual flip flops.  I felt like I was walking through Copacabana rather than the infinitely more unforgiving suited up part of Holborn in London.

Three of the bathing suits, I recognised as these one-piece cut out suits from yup you guessed it – Topshop!  Whether this heat wave clothing trend was sparked by the Miller effect, I have no idea or that they were all swimming in the morning and decided to just put on a mini-skirt afterwards – who knows!  The point is, my opinion is that that this trend needs to be tread with EXTREME caution.  I’m all for the ‘body is beautiful’ mantra but cut out bathing suits with a tight denim skirt unfortunately produces a kind of squelchy flesh overspill effect which I’m afraid, is just not nice – and looks mighty uncomfortable too!  This seems to be a further development of the one-piece trend which I have embraced a little (found some lovely bodies and leotards which work well as basics with skirts over).  As much as I respect London girls for having the initiative and guts to go for different trends, sometimes, I just have to put my hands up and say ‘No!’. 

Azzollini suit & Gottex Silver bathing suit that MAYBE could work on some level that I have yet to figure out.  The lines are clean and perhaps even ok to layer over a t-shirt.  I have done the bathing suit over shirt thing ONCE in a crazy Susie Styling moment – maybe, just maybe?

In recent years, I haven’t been impressed by that many contemporary films’ wardrobe styling.  Each time I read ‘stylish’ in a Marie Claire/Glamour film review, for me, it often translates to ‘boring’ and predictable.  So I sat up and listened when I heard Patricia Field, ex-stylist of Sex and the City was in charge of the wardrobe on the film adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada (by Lauren Weisberger).  The film has premiered, the stills are out, Vogue has coo-ed over it, and unfortunately, it doesn’t come out here in the UK until October.  However, judging from these pictures, and don’t shoot me for saying so, my reaction is a little like ‘Oh?  Is that it?’.   

I respect Pat Field’s daring choices and I still do rate SATC as the only show that pushed style boundaries.  In Carrie Bradshaw, the array of styles that Field created were so innovative and fashion-forward.  Naturally, my expectations were high. 

Now I understand that the nature of Runway magazine in The Devil Wears Prada is conformist in its style rather than zany and urban-edgy.  It’s about beautifully cut clothes, designer labels, fashion of the highest quality and price.  But how great would it be to see Runway magazine’s staff and Andrea herself materialised as uber-fashion victim types, with over the top styling.  Is it that mainstream audiences have the word ‘stylish’ pigeon-holed into a certain typecast – a wardrobe purely of Prada, Gucci and Balenciaga?  Is there not room for further interpretation of the word, especially when we’re figuring Patricia Field into the equation.  I do wonder whether she was allowed full rein of the wardrobe or whether, she was trying to stick to how Weisberger portrayed their clothes.  Or was she trying to convey how an American Vogue-type magazine office staff would dress in reality?  I have no idea.  Either way, I’m not blown away by this highly-anticipated ‘fashion’ film.  For me, the content of the film maybe fashion, but the clothing itself is only ‘safely stylish’. 

(Pics from Telegraph)

I picked up a copy of the first issue of Fashion Line Magazine and I’m hooked – the writing is dripping with sarcasm, there’s no fashion arse-kissing, they feature awesome designers like Jens Laugesen and Camilla Staerk, and of course, they’re London-based. A particuarly cool editorial was this wacky, neon-drenched interpretation of Swan Lake. It’s ballet gear on an acid trip. You already know I rate dancewear by itself – all I would have to do is inject some bright Crayola colours and I will have uncovered my inner hyperactive ballerina self!