Newport, RI – From white Victorian tennis garb of the 1800s to Ted Tinling’s bold 1970s tennis dresses to custom kits from global brands worn by today’s stars, the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s extensive collection of tennis fashion showcases the evolution of tennis through the years and the unique personalities of its athletes.
As a result of a major organization-wide initiative to digitize the Hall of Fame’s overall museum collection, digitization of the fashion portion of the collection has recently been completed and is now available online for digital users to search and explore. Kicking off the first part of the collection online, the Hall of Fame is also launching a first-ever digital exhibit. Courting Fashion showcases the history of tennis fashion from the origins of the sport through present day.
“Our museum collection has carefully preserved the greatest stories of tennis history, and now through new digital experiences, we are glad to be able to take the museum collection out beyond the museum walls and vaults and to make these treasures accessible to fans around the world,” commented CEO Todd Martin. “Our new digital exhibits, starting with Courting Fashion, will provide engaging ways for fans to learn about tennis history. Our digital collection search will provide new opportunities for academic research, for distance learning programs, and for fans to interact with our collection without having to be present in Newport. We look forward to continuing to build new digital experiences like these that will further our objective to share tennis history globally.”
COURTING FASHION: A DIGITAL EXHIBIT
Written by tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg, Courting Fashion takes users through three eras of tennis history – its origins in the 1800s, rise to popularity in the early 1900s through 1960s, and the Open Era, from 1968 through present day. Within each section, users will learn about the styles, culture, and key personalities of the time period.Scroll overs in the exhibit offer an opportunity to zoom in and explore fabrics and design detail up close, while an interactive timeline points out the fashion highlights of each era, such as Rene Lacoste’s crocodile jacket, Bjorn Borg’s iconic Fila looks, Billie Jean King’s Adidas blue suede sneakers, and Serena Williams’ recent US Open tutu look that was a couture collaboration between Louis Vuitton designer Virgil Abloh and Nike. The Courting Fashion exhibit is accessible attennisfame.com/courtingfashion.
ONLINE ACCESS TO THE MUSEUM COLLECTION
Through Courting Fashion, users can also access a new online search of the Hall of Fame’s fashion collection, providing an opportunity to explore specific interests beyond the exhibit contents. Users can search by their favorite player, an event, time period, color, material, and other terms.
A search of “Chris Evert”, for example, reveals sneakers worn by the French Open great still caked in the red clay of Roland-Garros, Ellesse tennis whites from Wimbledon, and patriotic Fed Cup apparel. For users looking to explore the work of fashion icon Ted Tinling, who was largely responsible for introducing color to tennis apparel, a search of his name reveals everything from delicate white clothing with color embellishments to flashy sequined dresses and jackets that undoubtedly jazzed up tennis courts of the 1970s. The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s fashion collection is available for search on tennisfame.com/museumcollection.
A DIGITAL FUTURE FOR TENNIS HISTORY
The Hall of Fame’s fashion collection is, of course, just one portion of the organization’s extensive museum and archives, with efforts in place to bring more of the collection online in the future. In all, the Hall of Fame’s collection of tennis history is comprised of well over 25,000 objects, 300,000 photos and videos, and countless inspiring stories to share. Digitization of the museum collection will be an ongoing effort. To date, the majority of the fashion collection has been made digital, as well as significant portions of the collections of racquets, trophies, and tennis ball containers. Efforts are currently underway to add additional pieces to the online search catalog, as well as to launch digital exhibits showcasing racquets and trophies in 2019.