Eugenie Bouchard wearing the Premier Slam dress. (Photo: Courtesy of Nike)
Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam tournament that requires players to abide by a dress code: whites only. But the rules go beyond just color — and Nike has learned that the hard way.
Players in the London tournament wearing the company’s “Premier Slam” dress have reportedly been asked to return it for alterations because the piece, a simple swing silhouette with a small “swoosh,” didn’t cover enough skin. An All England Club spokesperson said the design was initially approved “because it fully complies with our color regulations.”
According to the Daily Mail, Nike sent an email to players and their representatives, writing, “We need to make a small change to your dresses per Wimbledon rules. Could you please bring them by the Nike Wimbledon House?” The note also ostensibly said “this is VERY important” — bold and underlined.
The $100 dress is described on Nike.com as being “designed for incredible cooling and comfort to help you play your best matches,” and the elongated back hem “provides more coverage, making the dress ideal for layering over shorts or tights.”
Critics of the look on social media called it an “entirely ridiculous design for competitive tennis” and “pretty much sleepwear as tennis dresses.”
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg)June 21, 2016
Lucie Hradecká recently played in a Wimbeldon qualifying match at Roehampton in the design and wore it as a long tank top with white leggings underneath. Katie Boutler tied a headband around her waist in an apparent attempt to keep the dress secured and in place. Eugenie Bouchard and Laura Robson are reportedly among the 20 participants represented by Nike expected to have their dresses lengthened. Serena Williams will be wearing a version of the outfit from her own collection, the Nike Women’s Premier Wimbledon Serena SW19 Dress ($200), though hers is tighter on the bodice and includes a pleated skirt with two tiers in back.
Williams’s version of the dress. (Photo: Courtesy of Nike)
In a statement to Yahoo Style, Nike said, “The product has not been recalled, and we often customize products and make alterations for athletes as they compete. We work closely with our athletes to provide them with product that helps them perform and feel their best on the court.”