Tennis superstar Serena Williams debuted a new clothing collection this week in collaboration with Ghanaian American designer Virgil Abloh and Nike.
The collection combines the athletic wear that defines a sporting and fitness company like Nike, the personality Williams likes to reflect with her style choices, and the signature design elements of Abloh, who is known for his work with Kanye West and on Louis Vuitton’s men’s line.
Williams has long been a fashionista in her own right, often abandoning the traditional tennis color of white for bold hues that pop against drab green or blue courts. She’s collaborated with Nike for over a decade, and is now bringing her lesser-known background — she was a fashion design student at the Art Institute of Florida — to the forefront.
Williams launched her own fashion line this year, offering looks that are less sporty than this new collection and include more everyday wear, like hip-hugging dresses, fitted tops and jeans that can fit curves.
On International Women’s Day, Williams and Nike released an ad with an empowering message: “There’s no wrong way to be a woman,” she said. Her forays into fashion so far embody the spirit that being powerful and feeling pretty don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
The clothes in the new, appropriately named “Queen Collection” feature sleek leotards in either black or steel grey colors with a single sleeve, a free-flowing tutu skirt and breathable mesh. Fans can buy these and the accompanying tennis shoes when the collection goes on sale at select Nike stores in time for the U.S. Open later this month.
It’s a bit of good news for fans cheering the tennis star as she returns from her maternity leave, a journey that’s been marked by difficulty, and has raised concerns about how organized sports treat women after they give birth.
Her recovery and reentry to the sport has been inspiring to many. Williams has been open with the public about the complications she suffered after childbirth, sharing that she almost died after giving birth in September because her doctor didn’t listen to her complaints of pain.
In an interview with Vogue, Williams told the outlet that she loved what the Queen Collection represents.
“It really embodies what I always say: that you can be strong and beautiful at the same time.”