With its proximity in the calendar to New York Fashion Week, it's no surprise that the courts of the U.S. Open Tennis championships become a catwalk for companies trying to showcase fashionable athletic clothing. And it doesn't hurt that Anna Wintour makes a regular appearance in the audience. We've all seen those pictures: Serena's catsuit (or denim skirt - your pick), to Venus' fireworks-inspired dresses, to Roger Federer's all-black look (complete with tuxedo shorts), to Maria Sharapova's bedazzled homage to the Manhattan skyline - those, from the fashion standpoint - are what this event is known for. But just underneath that layer of sensational one-offs are some interesting trends and looks that never get seen on television. So, in the spirit of hearing the trees fall in the forest, here's a list of what's caught our eye after a week of watching the 2011 U.S. Open:
1) Ballperson outfits: Normally stodgy and ill-fitting (keep in mind that these clothes have to look good on folks of all ages, shapes, and sizes), the current iteration of the ballperson outfit, designed by Polo Ralph Lauren, solves that problem by using navy as a base color. They bring in neon-colored trim in the form of PRL's pony logo and some diagonal sporty striping. We were skeptical about how the public would react to having glowing ponies in view of the players while they play, but with the amount of neon being worn on the court at this year's event, the colors blend right in.
2) Maria Sharapova's bags - through her partnership with Head, Sharapova's had a hand in revitalizing racquet bag design; most all other carryalls have erred on the side of being loud, billboard-esque duffels that drowned out even the most fashionable of tennis outfits. This subdued design - with the company's logo embroidered in script - accentuates her clothes. The same goes for her the tote she carries on court for other essentia;s; as of late, they have been from her Cole Haan Maria Sharapova collection.
3) A ruffled dress from Ellesse - This Italian company gets a whimsical infusion in the designs of its Japanese licensee, as seen on this dress by Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan. No other ladies wore had a skirt nearly as bold - in fact, most of the other outfits focused on embellishing the tops (save for one bubble skirt, from adidas) - and very few flowed as beautifully while moving around the court. Unfortunately, Voskoboeva lost in the early rounds, so we won't have a chance for another look at the outfit.
4) Color blocking and simple silhouettes: Lacoste kept in line with the summer's trend of using solid bright colors as a design base, but stepped it up with color blocking in both their men's and women's outfits. The gents saw a deep purple in the side panels of their polos, while the women got contrast colors at the bust and shoulders of their standard-issue sleeveless dress. The split neck on the dress is also a nice touch.
Women's (Dominika Cibulkova)
Men's (Andrey Golubev)
5) Adidas' study in geometry: For their men, Adidas broke up its bright red clothes with a tasteful interpretation of streetwear in the form of their Feather polo, decorated with a geometric pattern.