When we heard Virgil Abloh and Serena Williams were collaborating on Williams’ 2018 U.S. Open wardrobe, we were understandably excited. It seems the collections Virgil has been unearthing both with Nike and via his Off-White brand can do no wrong. And Serena, after giving birth to daughter Olympia and making it to this year's Wimbledon Final, seems to have grown into more than a champion - she has become a natural superwoman whom women find it easy to cheer for. Ultimately, two black powerhouses collaborating at the top of their respective games are a fist pump waiting to happen—especially when backed by an athletic apparel juggernaut like Nike and when they're offering an opportunity to be part of the action.
Now, we get our first look at the resulting “Queen” collection in motion. CNK touched down in the Empire State as Williams and Abloh made an appearance earlier this week at Westside Tennis Club in Queens, N.Y. (in the shadow of the original U.S. Open site, no less) to launch the new line and hit a few balls across the net with a few aspiring young tennis queens.
After surprising the young ladies and hitting a few volleys, Williams and Abloh joined writer and moderator Kimberly Drew (better known on the ‘gram as @MuseumMammy) for a panel discussion on the newest offering from Nike x Off-White, and how Williams' Queen on and off the court persona inspired the collection.
“I don’t think fashion is all status symbols, it should represent people and tell a story,” Abloh told the audience. This may seem ironic, coming from the designer whose spot on deliverables are fast becoming a status symbol that has catapulted him and Off-White to a certain level of infamy. But, while designing for Serena, Abloh looked to her story, and her inspiration of others, as the muse.
“With Serena, we have one of our generation’s most powerful, inspiring athletes as the muse,” Abloh said in a prior press release. “I was trying to embody her spirit and bring something compelling and fresh to tennis.”
The experience also proved compelling and fresh for Abloh, who worked with the demands of a tennis dress silhouette and function for the first time, assisted by a custom Nike dress form based on Williams’ body and led by Serena's love for dramatic ballet skirts and the silhouettes that flow so easily in dance circles.
For Williams, the game is all about fun, versatility, and personality which makes it no surprise that the Queen collection includes both day and night versions of Williams’ ballet-inspired dress, a coordinating cropped jacket, a signature duffle bag and three new sneakers culminating in a flashy glam take on the NikeCourt Flare 2s, as well as limited editions of The 10: Nike Air Max 97 and The 10: Nike Blazer Mid SW. But, all of this was secondary when it came to our favorite queens at Monday's event: the young tennis champs on the court wearing special “Queen” t-shirts and Nike gear as they shared the grass with their idol and received a few words of wisdom from a champion:
“Whatever you do, have fun—that is so important,” Williams said. “But also, however far you get or whatever your goal is, the most important thing is to always be humble ... because humility is true greatness.”
As we head into this year's Open, however Serena fares in this years contest is a bit secondary in our minds. Williams will remain our G.O.A.T. because her impact is felt (and worn) far beyond her record.
There's no official word on when we'll see the "QUEEN" collection online or in stores but, stay tuned to CNKDaily.com for more info. If you're itching to cop a few Nike Court pieces now (we're in love with the warm up pants and track jackets, btw) you can shop a few similar styles below.
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