SERENA WILLIAMS AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2021
The 2021 tennis season is officially underway. The first Grand Slam tournament of the year, the Australian Open, is now in session and Serena Williams has come to play! Going for her record tying 24th Grand Slam title (with Margaret Court), she is making as big a statement with her Flo-Jo inspired, one-legged catsuit as she is with her powerful shots. But this is not the first time Serena has donned a catsuit for a major tournament. There was the controversial all black one she wore at the 2018 French Open that would have catsuits banned in the future at Roland Garros.
The catsuit has long been a symbol of female empowerment, strength, and sexuality with a history in sports, music, and Hollywood. Here is a look at some of the most iconic catsuits and the women who rocked them!
ANNE WHITE, WIMBLEDON 1985 / SERENA WILLIAMS, FRENCH OPEN 2018
The French Open in 2018 was Serena Williams’ first Major tournament back on the WTA tour as a new mom, and she marked the occasion with statement making, Black Panther inspired Nike catsuit. Anne White, however, was the first player to wear a catsuit in tennis competition, pushing the boundaries of the all-white tennis attire rule at Wimbledon in 1985. It was banned by match’s end (actually mid-match as play was suspended for darkness) and she returned to the court the next day in more traditional attire. Serena Williams catsuit was also banned, although not until the last week of the tournament when the French Tennis Federation announced new dress code regulations going forward. Catsuits were officially prohibited.
FLORENCE GRIFFITH JOYNER
Florence Griffith Joyner, aka Flo-Jo, was an American track and field athlete and still the fastest woman of all time with the world records she set in 1988 in both the 100 and 200 meter distances. A star athlete in the late 1980’s, she was as recognized for her flashy style as for her blazing speed. Her notorious one-legged catsuits were the inspiration for Serena Williams’ at this year’s Australian Open. Griffith-Joyner made her Olympic debut in 1984 in Los Angeles, winning a silver medal in the 200 meters. She subsequently won three gold medals at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Tragically, she died in her sleep as the result of an epileptic seizure in 1998 at the age of 38.
CLOCKWISE TOP LEFT: JULIE NEWMAR FROM THE 1960’s TELEVISION SERIES BATMAN; MICHELLE PFEIFFER, BATMAN RETURNS, 1992; ZOE KRAVITZ, THE BATMAN (coming 2022); ANNE HATHAWAY, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, 2012
Probably the most famous catsuits have been on Catwomen, Batman’s feline-inspired nemeses on the original 1960’s television series Batman, and the three Batman Hollywood motion pictures. While Michelle Pfeiffer’s white stitched, skin-tight, shiny black catsuit — along with her transformation into the character — is probably the most memorable, Zoe Kravitz’s moto-inspired leather catsuit looks to be the most baddass.
So this a wetsuit, but a wetsuit is like a catsuit for the water, and these can’t be missed! In January of 2019, a video of marine biologist Ocean Ramsey went viral, as she swam alongside a massive 20 ft. great white shark. As noticeable was the tiger printed wetsuit she wore, one of the signature pieces from the Ocean Ramsey inspired collection from Xcel Wetsuits. Ocean Ramsey is a world-renowned marine biologist and conservationist using her grace and fearlessness to raise awareness and funds for shark conservation efforts around the world.
ON THE ICE…
DIANA NIKITINA 2018; SURYA BONALY 2000; TEAM NETHERLANDS IN PURSUIT AT THE WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES IN 2018
The catsuit, of course, has made numerous appearances on the ice as well. A 17-year old Diana Nikitina from Latvia caught the world’s attention at the last Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in her black sequin catsuit, as did Surya Bonaly of France so many times for both her fashion style and daring atheticism. Surya performed her gold medal winning program at the 2000 Winter Goodwill Games in this dazzling catsuit above. And of course, catsuits are the official uniform of speed skaters!
BRITTANY SPEARS / MILEY CYRUS
And finally, who can forget these two headline making performers! Miley Cyrus paid homage to Brittany Spears in the glossy red leather catsuit she wore in her 2019 music video for “Mother’s Daughter”, taking inspiration from the unforgettable red catsuit Brittany wore in her “Oops!… I did It Again” video in 2000.