At 17-years-old, tennis star Coco Gauff just enjoyed her second major fashion walk-out moment at the U.S. Open. Gauff, fresh off the Aug. 26 release of her apparel collection with New Balance, revealed her on-court look for the year’s fourth major tennis tournament on Monday with a bodysuit inspired by her new apparel collection.
“It was actually driven by her,” Renee LeFevre, New Balance creative design manager for women’s apparel, says about the on-court design. “She’s excelling in her career and she wants to have her own personal style. Having frequent touch-bases on what is working and what she’s feeling allows us to create product that is truly her style.”
The bodysuit comes as an extension of the New Balance Coco Gauff Collection, exclusively with Foot Locker Women, a capsule collection full of ’90s style. “We know she loves the bright color palette; she loves certain cuts from the ’90s, a square neckline, waist emphasis and biker shorts, which were big in the ’90s,” LeFevre says. “We are playing up the ’90s theme.”
Locking in on Gauff’s love of graffiti art, LeFevre says the New Balance design team researched New York City graffiti from the late ’90s to tie her artistic desires to the home city of the year’s final major tournament, settling on an iconic graffiti tag style. To give it a personal spin, an in-house graphic designer for the Boston-based brand took Gauff’s actual signature and integrated it into the print. “From afar it looks like a textural print, but when you look closer it says ‘Coco Gauff,'” says LeFevre. “The print is quite expressive.” A bright pink short adds a layered look.
The bodysuit comes from a desire to have zero performance distractions and to make Gauff comfortable on the court. It is form fitting and perfectly fitted to her specifications. Featuring long lines that contour to the body while offering a ’90s-inspired square neck, cutout in the back for “ventilation and that extra wow factor,” a bike-short length and ample real estate for the signature graffiti print, she’ll also have a pink short with a side vent that allows for freedom of movement.
While the individualized nature of the on-court look isn’t for sale, the new retail collection ties the same colors and style for fans wanting Gauff-inspired design. And her literal signature.
The Coco Gauff signature graphic print spans from the bodysuit to the collection on a variety of items, including a jacket and pant in a vibrant pink. The collection includes a mix of windbreakers, ringer tees, jogger pants, hoodies, graphic tees and fitted shorts. There is also a New Balance 327 lifestyle sneaker inspired by Gauff as part of the collection.
“I wanted to push it with the graphics and fit of the collection,” Gauff says, “so I am pumped to finally see it in store and let fans get their hands on it.”
The print, along with the rest of the collection, come as a one-off and New Balance doesn’t have plans to keep the designs around for future collections or Grand Slam tournaments.
LeFevre says she loves how authentic Gauff is when working on projects. “I’m so inspired by her and I think she is so cool. She’s actually quite mature for her age. She is, like … perfect,” she says. “She’s confident, humble and so well mannered. The things she stands for are so admirable.”
Having that maturity and confidence helps Gauff know what she wants in a design meeting. “One of the first things she told me that blew me away, she’s like, ‘I don’t care about designer brands, I know what I like and I’m not about the brands'” LeFevre says. “She knows her style and is authentic to her style. She’s not copying anyone. That is amazing for her age.”