Roland Garros…Fashion Palette

By Cheryl Jones and Mark Winters

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The weather has been in the “mids” (mid-70s to mid-80s degrees) during the first week of Roland Garros, with the threat of rain approaching…after all it is Paris and it is June. The conditions have opened the virus limiting doors to a curious number of spectators and, in the process, has called attention to the spring designs that often lead to trends that make their way to tennis courts far and wide.

This year, colors – lots of colors – that the various clothing manufacturers use to display their latest on a myriad of live player-mannequins.

Diego Schwartzman 2021 French Open
Diego Schwartzman doing the retro tie dye. Photo: Roger Parker

Some of the hues subtly blend with the Terre Battue surface. Others standout because they strikingly don’t care about the dusty terra battue staining their fabric – there’s always detergent to erase any smudge.

While we haven’t seen the entire palette of combinations that gracing all the men and women’s play at Stade Roland Garros, but here are a few first week observations. (A bit of explanation is called for here. Depending on their clothing sponsor a player may wear a different combination each day while another performer may don the “same ol’-same ol” on a daily basis.)

Venus Williams and Coco Gauff at Roland Garros 2021
Venus Williams looks ready for Wimbledon while doubles partner Coco Gauff flaunts New Balance colour. Photo: Michel Euler

Lacoste has always been the provider of top-drawer classic wear. Again, they are living up to their reputation. Venus Williams’ EleVen collection, takes after its designer, and is elegant. Asics is trendy tasteful. Lotto is Lotto. Joma, the Spanish brand, utilize combinations that evoke a quiet peacefulness.

Hydrogen, with its Jolly Roger logo, is once again eye-catching having combined hues sporting a skull logo. Fabio Fognini is attention grabbing as always. His play and his outfits wail for attention. He was the first tennis performer to integrate Hydrogen into his tennis wardrobe. Because of his drawing power he has now segued to EA7 Emporio Armani, produced by the fabled Italian clothier.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Roland Garros 2016
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga rockin’ a zebra print at Roland Garros, 2016.
Photo: by Christian Liewig

Remember 2016 when adidas was all-about Zebra wear in Paris? This time out, the company is exercising measured “startle” with the ladies. Alexander (Sascha) Zverev is the German company’s home country mascot and he is another matter altogether.

He is almost scrawny, but not exactly. He is 6’6” tall and he has been wearing an “almost no muscle” muscle shirt this season. At Roland Garros, his no sleeves – tank top to most – usually black shirt has been combined with “shimmer” purple checkered shorts.

It is hard to find a place in Roland Garros clothing remembrances that recalls this combination that seems worthy of a skateboarder or Tour de France team dress catalogue.

Alexander Zverev at Roland Garros 2021
Alexander Zverev’s urban wear. Photo: Jean Catuffe

When Milos Raonic of Canada pulled out of the tournament, New Balance was disappointed because it lost one of its featured prototype models. In truth, little was lost because Coco Gauff is one of the company’s endorsers. She has showcased pattern swatch skirts with tops that make the spilled color mismatches, actually match.

Of the Fila players, Diego Schwartzman stepped back in time. The Argentine’s tie-dyed pink shirt with the pallet continuing to waterfall down the right leg of his white shorts has been different but retro may be making another entry into the fashion world.

Sofia Kenin at Roland Garros 2021
Sofia Kenin’s dress channels a drip painting. Photo: Rob Prange

Former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin has maxed the Fila show. One day she wore a Jackson Pollack paint splotches ensemble. And she also has sported a “Holstein”, (not Halston), look. It will be interesting to see what Sofia parades onto the court next.

There have been “Ultimate Cat Burglar” all black get-ups worn in the middle of the day. Men have worn shirts with yellow-green, almost glow in the dark, crossing guards apparel.

Sloane Stephens wearing all black
Sloane Stephens in an all black outfit. Photo: Roger Parker

There have been “Borderline ostentatious” booty jewelry displays, worthy of US professional baseball and basketball players. As the play continues, there will still be countless “Tests for Tide”.

Yet, when all is said and done – Serena Williams is unmatched. Her decor is so Serena with the “Never Stop Fighting” stenciled on her left shoe in English and “Je ne m’arrêterai jamais” in French on the right. She is The Chanteuse in Chartreuse.

Serena Williams shoes Roland Garros 2021
Serena’s bi-lingual motto. Image: Nine Media

There’s still nearly ten days remaining in Paris. If the tennis doesn’t entertain, the clothing surely will. It will be interesting to see just where the fashionable consumer will head.

Or maybe they’ll just grab the grey shorts and an oversized matching tee and fashion or not, head for the courts after watching their heroes new and old display their honed moves. Isn’t that what it’s really all about in the first place.

Title photo of Fabio Fognini wearing EA7 Emporio Armani by Ciol

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