Venus Williams


EleVen, the ready-to-wear clothing collection designed by Venus Williams, has relaunched with a capsule collection for Spring 2012. This fresh start for the line embodies the designer’s iconoclastic approach to lifestyle activewear. “Strong, simple, and iconic are the words I kept in mind when I designed this collection,” says Venus.

“In the past, my designs were an experiment – a study,” says Venus. “I wanted to have fun and go crazy. It was an extension of what I was wearing on the court.”  The Spring 2012 collection for EleVen, on the other hand, is more classic and more wearable for a greater number of people. “I want people to feel they can express themselves with EleVen, no matter what their body shape is.”

More of a lifestyle collection than strictly activewear, EleVen includes a color-blocked dress with trim in pink grosgrain ribbon. The chic cut and blocked print of the dress reflect prevailing trends on fashion runways, interpreted as only Venus can for a distinctive take. Other high-fashion themes reflected in this collection: graphic prints, abstract prints, and rose-gold metal accents.

A minimalistic palette of black, white, and pale pink dominates clean, chic silhouettes. Venus’s sophisticated approach marks a sleek contrast to the loud and busy looks often seen in apparel by professional athletes. A subtle stripe motif is Venus’s personal interpretation of the sporty accent. (Important to note: EleVen is not a licensed line. Venus, who holds a degree in fashion design, creates it herself, and is involved in each step of production.)

A white tennis skirt in super-soft yet sturdy fabric has pleats in the front, but not on the back, for a more flattering silhouette. A short-sleeved polo has four buttons instead of the usual two, giving the shirt a more uptown look.

Some of the T-shirts bear the EleVen logo or an Oh & Oh print, both of which were created exclusively for EleVen. Attention was given to the soft V shape of the neckline, an area that can make or break the sexiness of a simple shirt.

The prints in the Spring 2012 line were carefully considered. “I wanted everything to be appropriate for daywear, and also to match everything else in the line,” says Venus. A bold geometric print in dove gray and white brings a vintage Hollywood feel to the modern label.

A close look at the garments reveals unexpected details. A small metal charm in a rose-gold tone on selected items bears Venus’s initials. Inside certain garments are a small print of a handwritten note from Venus that encourages a positive attitude. “Oh & Oh beat ’em” can be found on selected women’s items.

EleVen is sold in specialty boutiques, in tennis pro shops, and on the website.