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Iconic: Serena Williams becomes first athlete to receive CFDA’s Fashion Icon award
The former world No. 1 will be among the honorees at the 2023 CFDA Fashion Awards in New York City on Nov. 6, a ceremony hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker.
Published Oct 12, 2023
Serena Williams is officially a “fashion icon”, according to the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion is set to be honored with the Fashion Icon award at the 2023 CFDA Fashion Awards presented by Amazon Fashion—and she will be making a bit of fashion history too, as the first athlete to receive the prestigious distinction. Previous recipients include Beyoncé, Naomi Campbell, Lenny Kravitz, Zendaya, Jennifer Lopez, Franca Sozzani, Pharrell Williams and Rihanna.
“Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve used fashion as an outlet to express myself,” Williams said in a statement. “Fashion gave me the confidence to step on the court and own who I was, and where I knew I was going.
“My dream of owning my own brand, S by Serena, has become a reality and throughout my career, I have been blessed to collaborate with the most established designers and the most exciting up-and-coming creatives. I have had so much fun learning my style and allowing it to change as my life has evolved, but I’ve always held one thing true—fashion is for everyone, no matter your size, race or income.
“I am incredibly honored to be receiving the prestigious Fashion Icon Award from the CFDA, an organization whose work I have long admired and to stand among style icons I have always looked up to.”
Widely considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time, Williams spent 319 weeks ranked WTA world No. 1 and racked up 23 Grand Slam singles titles in her glittering career. But she was just as well-known for her on-court attire as she was for her tennis prowess, from clashing with Roland Garros officials over a bodysuit outfit to turning heads at the US Open with a tutu-inspired dress designed by Virgil Abloh.
Williams, who studied fashion design at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in 2000-2003, also launched her own clothing line, S by Serena, in 2018. A year later, she expanded into jewelry with the creation of her eponymous line.
“Serena is one of the most inspiring people in the world... A true individual,” said CFDA Chairman Thom Browne in a statement. “She is an icon of the sports world... representing greatness on the highest level… A perfect combination of our worlds... the ultimate example of individuality in everything she does…
“Serena is a true fashion icon.”
The 2023 CFDA Fashion Awards will take place at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City on November 6, 2023, and will be hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker.