Serena Williams's competition outfit at last year's French Open caused quite a bit of controversy, at least among French Tennis Federation officials.
The slick black catsuit she wore to last year's competition drew the ire of French Tennis Federation and its President Bernard Giudicelli, and led to the organization adopting a dress code for competitors.
This didn't stop Serena from making a statement with this year's outfit as well.
Williams' catsuit had been both a health precaution after her complicated pregnancy and subsequent fight to get back to competition condition, and a statement for all the mothers who had a similarly difficult recovery.
Guidicelli said that Williams' outfit was inappropriate and that the dress code was being implemented because:
"You have to respect the game and the place."
Unsure exactly what that was supposed to mean, many jumped to Serena's defense on social media.
They can’t get Serena on drug testing so they are banning the catsuit she wears that is MEDICALLY APPROVED to help… https://t.co/hba3d3Amz7— George M Johnson (@George M Johnson)1535132404.0
Some people are still confused as to exactly what was wrong with the catsuit.
I'm still trying to fully understand what was wrong with her outfit last year. I'm really not seeing what the issue… https://t.co/xvfPJSQCQj— Jamaal A. Bivens (@Jamaal A. Bivens)1558998307.0
The outfit Serena chose for this year's competition, a collaboration between Nike and Virgil Abloh, features a jacket and a removable maxi-length skirt over a sport top and tennis shorts.
The black-and white print fabric also features the French words "championne," "mère," "reine" and "déesse." In English: "champion," "mother," "queen" and "goddess."
It seems that since she isn't allowed to make a symbolic statement with a fierce catsuit, Williams apparently decided to make a clear statement with words—in French, lest the message be misinterpreted.
Ok. It says "Champion, Queen, Mother, Goddess" 😆 Tell them! In French just to be clear. 👌❤ https://t.co/PHHoTSS0VE— Karla Antoinette Baptiste (@Karla Antoinette Baptiste)1558997176.0
Serena shared photos of the outfit to Twitter as well.
Let the Roland Garros begin. Here is my French Open look designed by @virgilabloh and @Nike. https://t.co/niiyqoI94m— Serena Williams (@Serena Williams)1558875733.0
The love for Serena's new outfit was real, as was the praise of Serena herself.
@serenawilliams @virgilabloh @Nike You are fabulous in everything you do. Mother. Tennis. Fashion. Business.— Barbara Glickstein (@Barbara Glickstein)1558879095.0
@serenawilliams @virgilabloh @Nike Love you style!— AKA Des (@AKA Des)1558875800.0
@serenawilliams @virgilabloh @Nike Serena..... you are an absolute beauty! Watching you live right now! Go get’m girl! Looking fantastic!— linda kristine (@linda kristine)1558988282.0
@serenawilliams @virgilabloh @Nike This is such an exciting look. Also, shows how political gorgeous design can be.… https://t.co/fa4VIwPSaF— Carmen Wisdom (@Carmen Wisdom)1558882912.0
@ajplus Serena Wear is everywhere. God bless her. :-)— Nancy Fal (@Nancy Fal)1559018457.0
I love that Serena isn’t just an athlete but a legendary one who won’t let nothing get in her way https://t.co/UpKEpmVQwf— Bryce 🌊 (@Bryce 🌊)1558993223.0
@serenawilliams @virgilabloh @Nike Thank you for being such a good role model for my three teenage daughters 💪— Amanda Berringer 🇪🇺 (@Amanda Berringer 🇪🇺)1559020305.0
@serenawilliams @virgilabloh @Nike I can see you lifting the trophy in this. And I’m not referring to runner up 😤— Kyle (@Kyle)1558875993.0
Many called for a version of the ensemble to be made commercially available.
@serenawilliams @virgilabloh @Nike I peeped this last night! 🔥🔥🔥 Can't anybody do it like you do!! 👏👏👏 And I need l… https://t.co/OiWfIVWgxx— Adrianna H (@Adrianna H)1558877495.0
@serenawilliams @AwaWawafun @virgilabloh @Nike I want the blue off white Nike shoes 😭😭😭😭— Lumberghost 🌟🌟 (@Lumberghost 🌟🌟)1558881903.0
Williams is well known for her fashion sense, both on and off the court, and is definitely living up to that reputation.
Serena has advanced to the second round of the French Open after a bit of a rocky start against Russian player Vitalia Diatchenko yesterday. This was her 800th win.
In case you missed the match, you can view some highlights below:
Serena Williams vs Vitalia Diatchenko - Round 1 Highlights | Roland-Garros 2019 www.youtube.com
If a difficult pregnancy and subsequent struggle with blood clots can't keep Serena down, neither will something as silly as a dress code!