Both Venus and her sister Serena are known for their unique sense of style on the tennis court so it’s only fitting that she created her own line of clothing. EleVen doesn’t offer the typical sporty tennis gear, her feminine designs are minimal and subtle while maintaining a sporty edge. Williams stuck to her sporting roots by having several athletes model her line.
“I really don’t know why all of us athletes are doing [this]. I just know that I went to school and I love design,” Williams, who has an associate degree in fashion design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale said. “I try to make a difference in things. This is a big show but I wasn’t nervous.”
Want to know how a superstar transitions from the tennis court to the runway? USA Today spent an afternoon with Williams to check out all the behind-the-scenes prep work for her clothing line.
Throughout the afternoon, a stream of movement artists — a yoga practitioner, a tennis player, a dancer and a shadowboxer — drop by to get fitted in their EleVen gear. (Williams’ presentation was actually be more of a performance piece.) Williams, who is clearly quite hands-on, walks through each iteration of each look.
Fashion designer Cynthia Rowley said it’s no surprise athletes from Tony Hawk to David Beckham to Maria Sharapova have jumped into the fashion world.
“This is a way for them to express themselves because they normally are just seen in the uniforms they wear,” said Rowley, who has written books on fashion and has appeared as a fashion judge on TV. “A lot of them have great ideas and great style. I think fashion should be about having fun, and these athletes do.”
Lots of other Olympic gold medalists made appearances at New York Fashion Week. Sanya Richards-Ross, who won the gold in the 400m at the 2012 Olympics, hit up several shows, including Naeem Khan, Peter Som and Herve Leger by Max Azria.
Track star Allyson Felix, Gymnast Aly Raisman and soccer player Alex Morgan also attended fashion week this season. Morgan even took a turn on the runway in a Michael Kuluva creation. Take a look at some photos of America’s finest athletes cleaning up for a spot in the front row.