Serena Williams' style evolution in 52 photos: tennis great is a red carpet ace off court

The tennis champion is eyeing up a future in fashion when she retires from the sport

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Serena Williams is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. The holder of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, she also has Olympic gold medals and Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open wins under her belt.

In recent weeks, the athlete, 40, has spoken openly about the prospect of retiring from tennis to focus on other pursuits.

"I love to play tennis, but I know I can't do it for the rest of my life," she told Bloomerang media ahead of the Super Bowl. "I'm ready for that day. I've been preparing for that day for more than a decade. I think it's very important to always have a plan, and I've always had a plan.

"It's a game of balance and some days are more difficult than others. It's definitely more difficult because I'm a mother and a wife and I want to be able to spend time with my family, I want to be the best mother."

Off the court, Williams has built a fashion empire. She is behind two fashion lines, Serena and S by Serena, and has had a number of partnerships with sporting brands, including Nike. For S by Serena, she has designed comfortable loungewear, dresses, coats and jackets and accessories, including face masks, hoods and hair accessories.

In 2018, Meghan Markle wore one of Williams's Serena blazers, much to her delight.

Speaking about her love of fashion in 2019, she said: "My biggest joy is that I know that I’m doing something that I’ve always wanted to do, that I always dreamed of doing.

"I went to fashion school back in the early 2000s. This didn’t just pop up for me. It’s something I’ve literally been doing and designing for my whole life."

Williams often wears her own designs on the red carpet, but has also been known to turn to designs by Gucci, Calvin Klein, Armani and Burberry. Versace is a favourite of Williams's, and a brand she has sported designs by for more than one Met Gala appearance and for the 2018 wedding of her friend, Meghan Markle, to Prince Harry.

Vera Wang, Giambattista Valli, Tom Ford, and Roberto Cavalli are also brands favoured by the sportswoman.

While major fashion houses delight in dressing Williams, she also turns to smaller boutique ateliers for red carpet appearances. To attend the November premiere of King Richard, she wore a statement leotard piece by Georgian designer David Koma.

She has also been known to turn to bridal designers for red carpet events, including Canadian brand Ines Di Santo and Israeli fashion house Galia Lahav, who dressed her for the Vanity Fair Oscars after-parties in 2015 and 2016.

For her 2017 wedding to technology entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian, she chose a design by Alexander McQueen. The dress had a sweetheart neckline and was finished with a cape, and made headlines as the most expensive wedding dress of all time and cost $3.5 million, according to Brides magazine.

"I flew to London to meet with Sarah and ended up falling in love with the ball gown silhouette, which is completely the opposite of what I ever thought I would choose for myself," Williams told Vogue. "I loved the idea of doing a really spectacular ball gown, and it has turned out to be such an incredibly special piece."

The dress was one of three she wore for her New Orleans nuptials, with the second two by Versace. One was a beaded and feathered gown with a cape and the second was a fitted mini dress, designed for dancing.

Updated: February 16, 2022, 5:44 AM
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