Tennis legend Serena Williams named ‘Fashion Icon’ at fashion industry’s biggest awards night

NEW YORK (AP) — Tennis legend Serena Williams told a glamorous fashion industry audience how fashion became a thing as she grew up in the public eye way of expression, and the tennis court is her own private runway.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I was different, so I explored fashion and style as a way to differentiate myself,” Williams told American Fashion Designers on Monday night Association’s Fashion Icon Award. “For me, in a lot of ways, the tennis court became my runway, and the U.S. Open was my own New York Fashion Week.” She said reimagining traditional tennis clothing became an expression of “my personality and Confidence and, most importantly, my culture” a way. “

Williams, who retired from tennis last year, is the first athlete to win the Fashion Icon Award, which was presented to her by last year’s CFDA winner Kim Kardashian. Kardashian called Williams “fearless, heroic, authentic, iconic — the greatest of all time.”

The fashion industry’s equivalent of Oscar night took place at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan and was hosted by Anne Hathaway. Among the top designer awards, Khaite’s Catherine Holstein won the coveted Womenswear Designer of the Year award. Willy Chavarria won menswear awards for his looks for the likes of Bad Bunny and Venus Williams. The accessories award went to Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen of The Row.

When Williams, now 42, retired from tennis, she said she needed to make the difficult choice to focus on motherhood. She gave birth to a baby girl in August, almost exactly a year after her last match as a tennis star. Adira River Ohanian is Williams’ second child and second daughter with her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian . Their first child, Olympia, was born in 2017.

In her speech, she spoke in depth about how she learned to express her creativity on the court. “I styled the skirt out of denim and wore a purple tutu and leotards,” she said, “and had beads in my hair and braids. “It was definitely a fun time for me. ”

Williams, who studied fashion during her career and launched her “S by Serena” clothing line in 2018, said in her speech that the purpose of the line is to “inspire women to embrace their bodies and love who they are, no matter what they are.” What is your body shape, race or identity.” income. “

Among her many thanks, she saved the last one for her mother, “for making my first tennis outfit when I was young.” She said, watching her sew, “In my It created this creativity in me that I still have to this day.”

CFDA Awards are presented by Amazon Fashion.

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