Love Match: Why Brands Are Revisiting The Golden Age Of Tennis Style

“I grew up being inspired by tennis style,” says Charaf Tajer, founder of Casablanca, a Parisian label that sauntered onto the scene a few seasons ago with its louche, painterly take on silk shirts and luxury sportswear. For SS ’20, Tajer has imagined his own Casablanca Tennis Club complete with retro logo, which is sewn and printed onto sweats, caps and T-shirts. Tennis played a big part in that aesthetic and inspired my tastes and Casablanca as a brand.” Lacoste, the fashion brand most closely associated with the sport (its founder, René Lacoste, won seven Grand Slams), has enjoyed a resurgence of late under a British creative director, Louise Trotter, who has fully embraced Le Crocodile’s heritage. I want to try and create products that can sit with the polo: clothes that are elegant and relevant.” One example is a recent, much-hyped Lacoste collaboration with Golf le Fleur, the brand owned by rapper Tyler, The Creator (top image). Roger, Rafa and Novak may be imperious on-court, their legacies long-cemented as, perhaps, the greatest men’s tennis players of all time. Federer did make an attempt with the 2007 era of cricket jumpers, umpire trousers and gold-embossed blazers, but you can’t help but feel it was a look cooked up by a Nike executive in an Oregon conference room,walls covered with motivational posters, rather than in the mind’s eye of the graceful Swiss. To talk about tennis style that has stood the test of time, one has to mention Stan Smith, Rod Laver, Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, Vitas Gerulaitis and John McEnroe. And one absolutely has to talk about Björn Borg, the angelic iceman who silently conquered all before him before strolling away from the game at the age of 26, hanging up his Fila track jacket for good. Carlson is in the process of collaborating with the Italian sportswear label on a range of Borg-inspired items: polos, tennis shoes and, yes, that track jacket.