Indian Wells fashion doesn’t generate the same excitement as fashion does at a Grand Slam event. The BNP Paribas isn’t a tournament where the pros’ sponsors supply them with new outfits to generate buzz and drive sales of their merchandise when TV viewers buy online or visit their local tennis shops to refresh their gear. However, I still enjoyed seeing the player fashions up close, and a few of them were even sporting new outfits.
Jelena Jankovic’s Fila Heritage Carwash Skirt
One of the most talked-about fashion statements was a new skirt design by BNP Paribas Open sponsor Fila, for Jelena Jankovic. Dubbed “the carwash dress,” owing to its front fabric strips resembling the felt runners in brushless carwashes, the skirt or dress (it comes in two versions) is one of the more innovative tennis fashions this year. When the player is standing still, the fabric strips look like pleats in a cheerleader dress. But when she moves, you can see they are strips of fabric. Thankfully, Fila put these fabric strips only in the front — the back of the skirt has neither slits nor pleats. It looks great on Jelena, but I’m not sure the carwash skirt is a look I’d want for myself.
Maria Sharapova’s Indian Wells fashion
Maria is wearing the same style of dress she wore in yellow for the Australian Open, only this time it’s in gray/green. It looks cool and fresh in this color, and the green shorts add a nice touch to an otherwise demure outfit. I wonder, however, who could pull off the look of this dress the way Maria can, with her 6’2″ height and model features. The fabric, billed as “shimmery,” actually looks thin — on a normal human being, the dress would probably accentuate every bulge. Perhaps it’s best to leave these $130 tennis dresses to the gals who have the figures and fitness levels to wear them well.
Vania King’s Indian Wells fashion
I can’t figure out who Vania’s clothing sponsor is, but she wears some great-looking outfits in nice colors. Things that recreational players like me would enjoy buying, if only we could find them. I saw her in a doubles match at Indian Wells, and she had on a cute top — green, with pink trim and an abstract flower garden print. Very colorful and springlike. I wish I knew where to look for more clothes like this.
Spin Attacks in the Dark
It’s not exactly a fashion commercial, but the TV spot that Babolat started airing around the time of the Australian Open to promote its AeroPro Drive racquet deserves an honorable mention for: (1) its attention-getting style, and (2) the presence of Nadal and Tsonga in the same commercial — their identities are clear if you’re paying attention, but that’s just it: because the action occurs in semi-darkness, you need to pay attention to be sure who the players are. This commercial has appeared often during the BNP Paribas Open broadcasts on the Tennis Channel. You can view a video on how they made it here, and here’s the Youtube version (which is a little longer than the 60-second spot):
Indian Wells fashion: player headgear?
The last style point I noticed regarding Indian Wells fashion was that when Federer and Nadal are practicing or warming up on the practice court, they both wear baseball caps turned around backwards. But when each of them plays a match, he sports a headband. Not sure why they do this — maybe it’s nothing more than individual style preference. But personally, I can’t relate: whether I’m playing for practice or a “real” match, I wear the same visor. I guess this makes me boring, At a minimum, I miss out on the chance to get a psychological boost from putting on my “competition headgear.”
Clearly there’s much to learn from watching pro tennis, and it’s not just how to hit the ball harder or with more consistency. Fashion and style nuances can make a big difference — just another reason to love this game.
Image credits: TennisIDENTITY/GettyImages, Anne Rosales