WASHINGTON, May 23, 2019 (by Michael Dickens)
With the arrival of next week’s French Open, the second Grand Slam of 2019, a variety of new tennis collections from Nike and Adidas – even Uniqlo – are taking center stage. Like the Paris fashion runway shows, the new spring apparel each is rolling out is designed to be functional while also aesthetically pleasing in the City of Lights.
U.S.-based Nike has turned to skulls, bees and floral patterns – highlighted by what it labels “a unique Toile Print” – that no doubt will turn heads while generating buzz from the Parisian fashion cognoscenti. Despite the unconventionality of it all – the repetition of bee prints – think royalty and power and you’ll get what Nike is striking at with its latest tennis collections. The dark floral prints reach out to the French’s affinity for flowers while Nike also seems to be drawing inspiration from traditional French tapestries. Even the hats and visors that players like Denis Shapovalov and Simona Halep will don include floral patterns to accent the iconic Nike swoosh.
Shapovalov, Nick Kyrgios, Frances Tiafoe, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Karen Khachanov – all Nike Team Players – will repping the “Nike Men’s Challenger Print Crew” in black with canyon gold and sail with canyon gold. Complementing the tops will be the “Men’s Ace Flower Short 9 inch” in black and canyon gold. Meanwhile, expect to see separate apparel lines for Nike’s main stars Rafael Nadal, Juan Martín del Potro and Grigor Dimitrov.
On the Nike women’s side, former and current No. 1 players Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka each will have separate apparel lines while Nike Team Players such as Halep, Elina Svitolina, Sloane Stephens and Aryna Sabalenka will mix and match a variety of looks, all featuring the colors black and oxygen purple.
— 🇷🇴WTA Romania🇷🇴 (@WTARomania) 20. Mai 2019
Adidas, a main competitor of Nike’s in the world of tennis apparel that’s based in Europe, will feature its Adidas Escouade to be worn by Garbiñe Muguruza, Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber. A key component for each is a dark black, all-over mesh top, with a contrasting white drawcord waist and accented hems and armholes. On the men’s side, Adidas’ “Here to Create” theme prominently features Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas in black, purple and light blue, colors that are far more traditional in look and style than Nike’s.
Ready to create on the big stage. @CaroWozniacki in the new adidas Tennis collection.
Shop now on https://t.co/y20LqC67ba.
— adidas tennis (@adidastennis) 22. Mai 2019
Meanwhile, Roger Federer has arrived at Roland Garros for the first time in four years – and it’s also his first French Open wearing Japanese brand Uniqlo. Like Nike and Adidas, the Tokyo-based Uniqlo is also rolling out new color and style palettes with a throwback appeal for its brand ambassadors, Federer and Kei Nishikori.
Federer will channel a subtle, toned-down-but-stylish appearance – have you ever known Federer to not look stylish? – that harkens a late seventies and early eighties look when he walks on Court Philippe Chatrier in a beige and off-white kit. There will be two versions, one that highlights the off-white and the other that features beige. It will be in direct contrast to Nishikori, who will wear bright, color-blocked outfits that are bold in their appearance. Each player’s designs were created by French-born fashion designer Christophe Lemaire.
In a statement released by Uniqlo, Federer said, “I had frequent consultations with the development team, and I’m extremely pleased with the game wear they’ve created. This will be my first appearance at Roland-Garros since 2015, and I’m looking forward to playing in Uniqlo game wear.”
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) 21. Mai 2019
Finally, Elise Mertens of Belgium, who represents Lotto, will wear a black and white zebra animal-print dress; Julia Goerges of Germany will wear the all-blue Asics’ Gel-Cool designs that embraces a sporty aesthetic; and Fila’s Heritage Collection, which will be worn by Karolina Pliskova and Kiki Bertens, features a modern twist on a classic drop-waist style, and by taking Fila’s traditional trio of red, white and navy and adding electric blue to the mix.