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Style Seeds: Daring Designs Down Under (Part I)

With the last few matches about to be played out during the first week of the Australian Open, we thought it would be an ideal time to analyze the on-court fashion from the tennis elite. After all, everyone wants to look good at a slam. Part I of our Style Seeds: Down Under series showcases the sartorially stylish ladies on tour. Who’s dressed to impress at the Sunshine Slam? Who withered under the Aussie heat? Find out below, and remember to cast your vote.

Best Dressed

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Serena Williams‘ outfit debut was a pretty incredible one in her first match on the Margaret Court Arena. The World No. 1 went all out dressed in Nike’s spring color palette of volt, cyber, turf orange and pink pow. (Pow indeed!) The Spring Slam Tunic offers an entirely new silhouette for the American, who usually dons more fitted shapes. We have to give props to the 90’s-style spaghetti strap throwback, which Nike seems to be implementing across the board for the early months. While Maria Sharapova bucked the trend for tunic cuts last season, Williams took it up an entirely new level with a daring open back.

Williams noted that the back in particular will be a vital focus point to all her outfits this year, so expect to see a lot of skin.

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Maria Sharapova did a design reversal with Williams for her debut slam dress of the season. Initially released with a full open back with hip cut-outs, Sharapova instead opted for a less controversial silhouette, sporting her Spring Maria OZ Premier Dress with just the slightest back reveal. Sharapova’s favored racerback style was still ever-present, however. Her dress in shades of daring red – with feature bright peach trim – is a stunning contrast to the blue courts of the Rod Laver Arena. Complete with graphic print ball shorties, Sharapova looked every inch the Grand Slam contender this week – sartorially, anyway.

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Though she may have been bundled out of the tournament prematurely at the hands of Victoria Azarenka in the second round, it was Caroline Wozniacki‘s Spring Stella McCartney Barricade Dress that caught the attention on the second day at Melbourne Park. Stella McCartney can be rather hit or miss when designing functional sportswear, but luckily for Wozniacki, this outfit is worthy of a place on the best-dressed list. In a fresher than fresh colourway of sky blue, mint and peach, the Barricade design showcased a figure-hugging silhouette with youthful woven pleats and an interesting foliage motif.

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A first round exit wasn’t exactly on the cards for No. 5 seed Ana Ivanovic. The Serb was stunned by hard hitting Czech Lucie Hradecka in just the second ladies’ match of the tournament on Rod Laver Arena.

And so, a good design had to go to waste.

I’d be surprised if Ivanovic dressed in anything other than a blue, a-line silhouette, and this year was no different. However, Adidas did somewhat replace the blue for a slight shade of nigh flash purple, accented with flash red sports bra and shorts. Featuring a sheer mesh insert at the back, the design showcases exposed elastic straps with hip dart panels and no-sew seams.

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Worst Dressed

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Who other than Victoria Azarenka could make this list?

Her eye-watering neon yellow separates from Nike have been causing a lot of controversy this week, with some suggesting that the luminescence of the spring volt shade on the Nike Women’s Spring Advantage Printed Tank and skirt – donned by a huge roster of draw entries – is too distracting for opponents. #everythingishindrance

Azarenka practically looks like a human tennis ball when pairing her outfit with a matching warmup shirt – which when you think about it – is probably a genius tactic. The only way to pull off this neon monstrosity is with a tan, so props to Azarenka on that, but alas, this has to be one of the most offensive get-ups I’ve seen on court recently.

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And so to another fashion blunder.

Look, I’ve been a huge supporter of the EleVen brand. Venus Williams has an innate sense of color and design to offer her customers. Unfortunately for her, the EleVen Women’s Ola Aussie Dress possesses none of her stylish prowess. It’s best to note that the Queen of Green’s hair game, however, has been on point. It’s unfortunate to place the elder Williams on this list, but the unflattering contrast mesh neckline looks far too jarring against the summery zebra print in shades of teal and blue.

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Need I explain the above, and the below? We love her, we loathe her (sartorially speaking, of course). Bethanie Mattek-Sands is a fashion maverick in her own right, that’s for sure. Rarely, however, does she make the best dressed list – which, charmingly enough, I’m not sure she cares too much about. It’s a good thing to have style individuality on the tour to counteract the mass designs of the big brands, and there’s only so much pink I can take at the Australian Open right now. Mattek-Sands’ ability to transform an outfit with a pair of trademark knee high socks and tattooed sleeves is nothing short of extraordinary.

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It’s no doubt a controversial choice to demote the popular Canadian, Eugenie Bouchard, onto the worst dressed list.

But I simply cannot fathom how pink-on-pink-on-pink can be a good look on anyone trying to achieve human life outside of a Barbie world. Come to think of it, perhaps this outfit is the perfect representation of the No. 7 seed. It exudes teen-bop spirit, plus along with her obsession with Justin Bieber, allows her army to revel in her candy floss world. There was also another slight controversial issue surrounding Genie’s on-court outfit twirl after her victory over Kiki Bertens.

Noted as disrespectful and perverse by news outlets, the Canadian looked visibly embarrassed. While it raises a rather bigger issue of tennis sexism, outside of scheduling issues and television exposure, I’m not quite sure how Rafael Nadal would feel if he was asked to twirl in his hot pink get-up.

Actually come to think of it…

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Don’t forget to vote in our TTI Style Seeds Polls:


About Christopher Prince (36 Articles)
Fashion writer by day, tennis reporter by well also day but it's night given the time difference. You know when you wake up like dis, and you're flawless? Yeah that's me. @cosmicvoices

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