When you think of Wimbledon fashion you think of traditions: All-white. Collars. Even pleats. Classic cuts. And while not much of that changes, each year players step up the hidden technology, materials and patterns in the all-white designs for the grass courts.
Take the Stella McCartney-designed look for Caroline Wozniacki, which uses an open-hole mesh structure on the skirt and breathability zones in the dress. The Wozniacki look from Adidas goes slim fit and has climate-controlling fabrics throughout.
“As a British designer, reinterpreting Wimbledon’s traditions is both a welcomed challenge and an honor,” McCartney says. “This Barricade collection celebrates the tournament’s heritage alongside contemporary influences supported by cutting-edge technology.”
Wozniacki says the technology complements Wimbledon’s all-white tradition.
Beyond the McCartney line, Adidas uses 3D aluminum cooling spheres on the inside back and neck for athletes such as Angelique Kerber and Tomas Berdych. Mesh-like micro fibers move moisture from the skin and flattened yarns containing titanium are meant to maximize surface contact with the skin to transfer heat from the body. All this technology comes in only white, of course.
Nike athletes will also feature plenty of laser-perforation for ventilation and moisture-controlling fabrics.
Roger Federer—often synonymous with classic—rolls into London with a white polo featuring a traditional collar. Nick Kyrgios, in contrast, will have a slimmer blade collar on his polo.
On the women’s side, Serena Williams will have a pleated skirt, connecting her looks of the previous 2016 Grand Slam events. The one new aspect of Serena's look will be the mock neck cut on the dress, something she has not worn before.
Expect Genie Bouchard and other Nike female athletes to wear a one-piece dress, a departure from the skirt-top combinations worn in previous Grand Slams. The traditional one-piece dress includes pleats and razorback construction.
New Balance will dress Milos Raonic in a shirt designed with a 100% polyester engineered yarn dyed with moisture-wicking technology to match the laser-cut perforations at the arm and upper back for ventilation. Raonic’s shorts will feature nylon and spandex with plenty of mesh.
Wimbledon also provides an opportunity for new designers to step into the game. Fila has signed on 2013 Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli for a 2016 “Love” collection, including off-the-court and on-court designs for Paris and London, which have been worn by Jelena Jankovic.
Everything may look white, but there’s technology and style to find hidden within Wimbledon's traditional color.
Tim Newcomb covers sports aesthetics—stadiums to sneakers—and training for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.