Not since 1949, when Gussie Moran startled Wimbledon's conservative gallery by wearing a pair of lace panties beneath her tennis skirt, has there been so frilly a turnout of players as was seen at Wimbledon this year. The fashion show began on the second day of play, with the appearance of a little-known Italian girl named Lea Pericoli who lost her first match but who will not be forgotten at Wimbledon. She owes her tennis immortality to a British designer, Teddy Tinling, a man with a fine appreciation of tennis clothes in motion. Signorina Pericoli swirled to defeat in a scalloped A-line dress, showing lace-trimmed pants and a pink rayon petticoat with every serve. By the time Wimbledon was over even the least clothes-conscious observer was aware that Tinling's clothes were worth watching. This year he took his inspiration from Dior's A-line, creating torso-clinging dresses that flared suddenly from the hips. The effect, when Tinling-outfitted girls met in a doubles match, was more of tutued ballerinas in a pas de quatre than a tennis match.
Designer Tinling has reason to know what makes a good tennis dress. For 22 years, until the flare-up over Miss Moran's pants caused him to resign, he was Master of Ceremonies of the center court at Wimbledon. He now dresses almost every important woman player—and about half of the men, including Seixas and Trabert. Mass-produced copies of his custom-designed Wimbledon costumes are also sold to more than 10,000 less well-known but equally ardent players in England and in America.
Hearts outline collar of Doris Hart's tennis dress, designed by Teddy Tinling.
Swirling petticoats made comely Lea Pericoli of Italy the most photogenic player at Wimbledon.
July 10, 1955
At ease, Tinling dresses cling to Arvilla McGuire of U.S. and to Maria
Weiss of Argentina. A-line dresses reveal a flowered trim in tennis action.
Soaring skirts of long-torso dress worn by England's E. M. Watson are Tinling's 1955 trademark.
Billowing princess-style dress, worn by Bev Fleitz, has scalloped neck, briefs.