"Couture curious?" asks the International Tennis Hall of Fame, alluding to its new style-centric exhibit. The surefire reply: Yes. More.
One doesn't truly need to ask for more from this, the Hall of Fame's first-ever digital exhibit, titled "Courting Fashion." The ITHF's museum collection boasts a thorough 300,000 objects and 25,000 multimedia items (videos, photos, etc.) threading through the exhibit.
The online experience, aesthetically pleasing and intuitive for site visitors, breaks up tennis history into three sections: "Birth of Tennis" (1874-1918), "The Popular Game" (1905-1920) and "The Open Era" (1968-present).
For those eager to know exactly why Rene Lacoste first stitched a crocodile patch on his coat's breast pocket, the ITHF exhibit has you covered – just as it notes how a range of designers and brands, from Ted Tinling to Fila, have covered up their muses and endorsers over the years.
#DYK French tennis legend Rene Lacoste first embroidered the crocodile on his blazer upon losing a bet to his #DavisCup captain? ????????— Tennis Hall of Fame (@TennisHalloFame) November 24, 2018
Get the scoop with a search for “Lacoste” in our new online archive of our tennis fashion collection. https://t.co/z8cQLXgn1D#TousEnBleu pic.twitter.com/DX72xY5pNZ
Not just over the years, though, but o'er the decades: This exhibit extends back to tennis' origins in the latter 1800s–the first ball was struck in 1873–when women wore heeled, lace-up boots to play the sport in unforgiving outfits, even including movement-inhibiting aprons to store spare balls for play.
Everything from distant-vintage finds to more recent, talked-about outfits–Venus Williams' so-called can-can dress from 2010 Roland Garros springs to life online–can be found in this exhibit.
The point scored is one for global fandom: No matter what corner of the world one's own wardrobe resides in, all are welcome to view this exhaustive, curated closet of tennis fashion, and from the comfort of home, be that Compton or Copenhagen.
Follow Jon on Twitter @jonscott9.