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How the tennis court became fashion's latest playground

Quiet luxury and sport is a duo that has long since proved its worth, bringing back vintage pieces that combine elegance and functionality without ever compromising on style

Published: Jun 27, 2023 01:21:58 PM IST
Updated: Jun 27, 2023 02:08:16 PM IST

How the tennis court became fashion's latest playgroundPolo shirts, pleated mini-skirts, socks, sports-inspired dresses and caps are staples of the 'tenniscore' trend, which is already attracting millions of followers around the world. Image: Shutterstock

With the French Open now over and Wimbledon around the corner, fashion shows no signs of letting go of the codes of tennis and two of its favorite inspirations of the moment: quiet luxury and sport. It's a duo that has long since proved its worth, bringing back into fashion vintage pieces that combine elegance and functionality, without ever compromising on style. That's why 'tenniscore' is a guaranteed winner this summer.

Whether it's fashion and basketball, fashion and soccer or fashion and motor racing, it's no secret that the ready-to-wear and luxury goods industries have long understood the benefits of associating themselves with popular sports to build brand awareness, develop community loyalty and even expand to new horizons. But if there's one sport where style is particularly important, and has been for decades, it's tennis, with its mix of preppy style, high-class chic and technical performance. It's an inspiration that's not unlike the 'quiet luxury' aesthetic that went viral a few weeks ago thanks to the success of the TV show, "Succession." At the dawn of summer, the trend seems to be here to stay, but with an athletic twist that gives rise to 'tenniscore,' a fashion look that's already gaining millions of followers around the world.

Born on the catwalks

Although it now has almost a million views on TikTok, the 'tenniscore' trend was not born on social networks, but on the catwalks. Under the impetus of Miu Miu, which marked the return of the pleated miniskirt and launched its Miu Miu Tennis Club in the summer of 2022, tennis-fashion has slowly but surely grown to become a veritable phenomenon. Not only have most of the major luxury brands and ready-to-wear giants embraced this famous preppy wardrobe—with polo shirts, pleated skirts, sporty chic dresses, caps and socks—but it's also become a must-have with the emergence of 'quiet luxury,' which has racked up over 150 million views on the Chinese social network. So if 'tenniscore' stands out today, it's largely because of its retro-chic vibe, evoking the wardrobes of amateur or professional players from decades gone by.

Miu Miu isn't the only brand to have succumbed to the call of the tennis court. Although not directly inspired by the famous racket sport, the collaboration between Gucci and adidas also makes reference to this popular retro-chic style. More recently, Lacoste—a brand closely linked to the world of tennis—embraced the trend with a collection of clothing and accessories offered in collaboration with the Sporty & Rich label. This includes all the attire the most elegant tennis player could wish for, to be worn off-court, of course, for added effect.

Also read: In fashion, 'quiet luxury' speaks volumes to those in the know

From Winnie Harlow to Iris Law

While one—or several—brands launching a trend isn't always enough for it to go viral, certain public figures can really help bring a look to the masses. This is exactly what happened with 'tenniscore,' tried and tested by a host of particularly influential celebrities on social networks, from Bella Hadid to Beyoncé. And that's not all, since the Belgian singer Angèle took Coachella by storm in April, wearing a high-end 'tenniscore'-inspired outfit by Chanel. As for Iris Law, it was at the Cannes Film Festival that one of her street style looks stood out. The English actress and model opted for a pleated skirt in a very fine woven material, matched with a long-sleeved top under which a swimsuit could be seen.

More recently, Canadian model Winnie Harlow succumbed to the call of the 'tenniscore' look on social media—for the purposes, it should be noted, of a campaign for the Puma brand—while Chiara Ferragni totally revisited the trend by accessorizing her miniskirt suit with a simple brassiere, moccasins and high socks. This particular outfit serves as a reminder that, by the end of the summer, 'tenniscore' should give way to 'school girl' style, which, in the end, is just another variation on the preppy aesthetic.

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