Nike's controversial Wimbledon 2016 dress added to the tournament's museum
Short floaty garment was said to resemble a nightie
"Strawberry Man" costume also joins 20,000 item collection
Criticized for resembling a nightie, Wimbledon’s most talked about dress is now a museum piece.
Nike’s controversial Wimbledon dress floated up to reveal its female players’ underwear, but the flimsy outfit worn by China’s Zhang Shuai has now been added to the All England Club’s collection of lawn tennis memorabilia.
The museum has over 20,000 items chronicling the history of the game, with Zhang’s garment joining rackets dating back to the 1870s, a tennis book from 1555 and a 3-D holographic vision of John McEnroe, who seems to appear in his changing room.
While Wimbledon’s strict all-white dress code has occasionally caused a stir, this time it was the style not the color and the players rather than the organizers who took umbrage with the design.
Germany’s Sabine Lisicki refused to wear it, while Rebecca Peterson of Sweden told the New York Times it was “flying everywhere.”
Nike reportedly had to ask their sponsored female players to bring the short pleated dress in for alterations, such as sewing up the sides to stop it riding up so much.
Nike, in an email sent to CNN, denied recalling the dresses although it admitted changes were needed.
“The product has not been recalled and we often customize products and make alterations for athletes as they compete,” said a Nike spokesperson during the tournament.
“We work closely with our athletes to provide them with product that helps them perform and feel their best on the court.”
Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard was one of the few speaking out in favor of the floaty frock. “I like it,” said Bouchard. “Nike comes up with some cool, modern designs. And it’s definitely short, but that’s how I like my dresses so I’m fine with it.”
Joining the nightie dress in the museum is the outfit worn by seven-time champion Serena Williams, a custom-designed Nike garment with a high neck and pleated skirt.
“Kinda in love with my Wimbledon dress,” the star posted on Instagram.
Menswear has historically ruffled fewer feathers at the tournament, though former world No.1 Andre Agassi did once refuse to play there due to his aversion to the all-white dictum.
The polemic-free Under Armour shorts and top worn by British Men’s Champion Andy Murray, who this year scooped his second Wimbledon men’s title, was also inducted into the museum – along with items sported by his Canadian opponent Milos Raonic and Briton Marcus Willis, who captured the public’s imagination during the tournament’s first after some plucky performances.
A costume worn by “Strawberry Man” – 40-year-old creative director Chris Fava from California who traveled 5,000 miles and dressed up as a giant strawberry, complete with carton of cream, to celebrate his love of Wimbledon – also made the cut for the museum.