The slam before the grass season is fast earning a name for the fashion that graces its courts. With Lacoste firmly bringing the style to the ballpersons’ kits, and brands such as Adidas enlisting their fashion designers out to make loud RG statements, there is plenty to go wild for before we gear up for grass season and get muted back down to white on white for Wimbledon. Boy, are the brands having a lot of fun at the Paris slam.
‘The Y-3 Zebras’
Let’s get the zebra references out of the way, as they’re everywhere — as are the players wearing them, having a very fruitful run in the first week. Adidas’ Y-3 Roland Garros kits had florals last year — remember Fognini’s ostentatious headband? Ivanovic’s kit exactly matching the ballpeople…EVEN THOUGH IT WAS A DIFFERENT BRAND? This year, they’ve gone for a monochrome graphic pattern with shots of red splashed in a considered manner on their outfits.
The golden rule of prints: if you’re going to go bold, don’t add anything else to it. This works well with the likes of Ivanovic who sported the red as a racer back, and on the shoulder. When extra details were added to this kit — like with Simona Halep’s faux-braces look and frou-frou skirt, it looked a bit costume-esque — proving less can often be more.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga proved that he can look good in whatever you put him in — but he also demonstrated that a true fashionisto knows the importance of an outfit change, opting for both the ‘zebra’ and a totally toned down Y-3 number.
Unfortunately for the Frenchman — and his pair of kits– an injury ended his Roland Garros campaign early in the third round on Saturday — as he was forced to retire leading 5-2 against Ernests Gulbis in the opening set.
Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev
The young guns Dominic Thiem and Alexander ‘Sascha’ Zverev clearly relished the frivolity of the kit — with the German committing fully by adding in the headband option. Thiem said in his latest interview that it’s fun to be a zebra — and the pair of them seem to enjoy the chance to wear something different.
Love it or hate it, the fact is the graphic stripes and pops of red look great against the rusty red clay — and it’s giving everyone on social media a chance to post pictures of zebras. The only problem for Adidas is that there are still a lot of hangovers from its multicolored, arty paintbrush-stroked kits — making it like some of the other players have had to rummage around the bargain bin for sale items from last season.
Nike’s True Blue
Opting for less prints — and much more of the blue stuff — Nike produced a plethora of blue, in pretty much every shade for this tournament. With Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova not starting this year, Nike was already down on the style stakes in terms of numbers — but then Serena and Rafa held the fort for the brand with aplomb.
Serena, the queen of the court, has one of the best outfits by far this Roland Garros. Blue is always great on Williams, and she knows how to work a crop top and a cut out, so this amalgamation of the two was always going to be a winner — especially when paired with skater skirt.
With a matching accessories and a little bit of contrast piping finishing her outfit off to a tee, it’s fashion joy to behold.
Nadal, Serena’s fellow Nike family member, also looks good in lighter blue. He went for a simpler outfit for his Roland Garros campaign than he did last year (that ombre fade last year was everything) — but, unfortunately for the Spaniard, he even continued his color coordination with a temporary wrist and arm cast when he announced his withdrawal from the tournament.
Williams’ and Nadal’s shade of blue proved the superior choice when it came to Nike. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Borna Coric, Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios all looked just fine in their royal blue hues, but darker blue is fell a little flat of both the WTA and ATP side — especially when their players were on court in identical kits, like Coric and Tomic were.
Svitolina’s — and several others’ — outfit proved that the ladies’ kit was superior to the men’s. It’s minimal, has a bit of pleating, but still needs a little bit more to it — and would be nice to have the top half and bottom half the same shade, as it looks a bit mismatched.
Return of Retro
Plenty of brands are went vintage and tapped into their heritage for this year’s slam in Paris, such as Le Coq Sportif — who kitted out Richard Gasquet in a modernised twist on their tradition. Gasquet was also sporting a very nice tracksuit with the tricolore colors that harkened back to the 70’s and 80’s. With vintage fits, strong bold piping and panels, brands modernized the classics for Roland Garros.
Alizé Lim got as more attention for her Le Coq Sportif dungarees than brands with an entire fleet of players wearing their collection did.
Never has a playsuit been so polarizing. Marion Bartoli sat in the TV studio being outraged (absolutely outraged!!) by it — while wearing a ridiculously loud blazer with eyes and graffiti scrawled over it — stating that Lim was ‘not at a beach tournament.’ Social media loved it — although, sure, a lot of the time it was to use a meme — but haters gonna hate. It was original, had a bit of flair and looked super comfortable — fashion and function can be synonymous, people!
The World No. 1 ticks all the boxes in his Uniqlo outfits this tournament. He’s sporting a great color-way of deep red and white, plenty of panels and piping, and his trademark fitted, long, ‘tailored-look’ shorts. There is plenty to like here, and he also inverts the colors, looking rather lovely in red — but the white has the edge out of the two.
Never one to be overtly flashy, Nishikori is keeping it simple in green Uniqlo garms. While the color may not seem like an immediate winner, it does look delightful against the orange clay.
Cibulkova did piping detail and cutouts well as she donned a nice, retro-looking number in a great shade of blue from Lacoste. The navy mixed with white is a great and classic contrast that y0u can’t really go wrong with.
Fellow Lacoste player — and fellow bringer of all the drama (off and on court) — Alizé Cornet worked this vintage Lacoste look well too, adding extra retro points by adding a fetching red visor.
Cornet’s always had a soft spot for a visor and it works even better with this modernized, vintage shape of dress. Lacoste certainly got the streamline style down to a tee for the French Open.
Ellesse is having a nice resurgence, and who better to put this on than Feliciano “Deliciano” Lopez (not my words, Judy Murray’s).
The panel, block detail and a popular 90’s brand are all winners in this getup.
Big John Isner has all the retro markers going here in Fila, a brand synonymous with the 90s, piping and a great color-way. Seeing Ellesse and Fila producing strong outfits makes one think — someone should get signed to Kappa and Miss Sixty, please.
Are we ready to go full retro? Remember the oversized everything? Whether it be the baggy t-shirts, shorts or big hair — from the boys and the girls — Seles scrunchies might need to be at the ready for week two…
Who’s your favorite on-court fashionista at Roland Garros? Let us know in the comments!