10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Tennis Clothes Line • Wimbledon “Whites” In History • From VENUS To Gussy

Venus Williams of the US plays Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania in their second round match during the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 04 July 2018. EPA-EFE/GERRY PENNY



By Nancy Gill Mc Shea


Wimbledon’s strict dress code has required all players to wear white since 1877, whether designed by Nike, Fila, Fred Perry , Head, Ellesse, Adidas, Lacoste, or the rest of the gang. The Code showcases modern game changers such as Venus Williams, a five-time Wimbledon singles champ who moved into the third round of singles today, and the late Gussy Moran, who was a creative rebel in the late 1940s. Interesting that in today’s tarnished culture with its boisterous 24/7 news cycle, social media rants, blaring music at sporting events, declining serenity and occasional harshly realistic advertising spots, that Venus’s pre-Wimbledon Systane commercial emphasized a more stylish, majestic era as she waltzed around the All England’s fresh green grass in her beautiful white dress and visor. Who would have believed that a TV commercial for dry eyes would feature decorum and become a key publicity announcement for the arrival of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships?


Now let’s retreat to the post World War 11 late 1940s when a long winter of war and depression began to recede as the Greatest Generation prepped for the pleasures of suburban ease. In California the legendary Gussy Moran, a movie electricians daughter who had worked in a war factory pulling bolts for $40 a week, landed a few small roles in feature films while growing up in the hey day of Charlie Chaplin, Bing Crosby and Gregory Peck. But she looked for more personal gains during the film industry’s golden age and the resurgence of tennis. ( Gussy was in Pat and Mike and was very close to all the Chaplins).


This website “10sBalls” has recorded Gussy’s response to the changing culture. She was a tennis whiz with a hefty forehand, trained with the legendary Bill Tilden, weekly played at Charlie Chaplin’s place, hit tennis balls on Sundays with Greta 
Garbo and Olivia de Havilland.


She made waves up and down the CALIFORNIA Coast competing in amateur tournaments and was a U.S. triple crown winner at the National Indoors in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. (the mixed was with Pancho Gonzales).


She was ranked No. 4 in America and decided to raise her profile globally, to stand out and look feminine. She had a plan and contacted the Wimbledon host and dress designer Ted Tinling, asked him to help her design and create an outfit for the Championships. She wasn’t looking for attention. She was a good player and was clever enough to figure out how to maximize her profile and earning power.


Teddy Tinling and Gussy ( yes correct spelling , she preferred it to Gussie ) created an outfit which wowed the crowd and made headlines across the world. Remember this is 1949 – before Elvis, before the Beatles, before the rock and roll revolution which enraptured America. And this wasn’t Hollywood.


In 1949; this was the All England Lawn Tennis Club. Many years later, players are still asked to change items of clothing which don’t adhere to the strict rules. Of course, everyone knows about the predominantly white rule – but nothing had been written in stone about showing one’s knickers! So that’s what Gussy did. Her skirt was only slightly shorter than most , but the fabric moved with her that her frilly knickers showed when she reached for a shot.


“The late ’40s,’” Tinling wrote, “were the Lana Turner era, when curvaceous figures were emphasized. Gussy epitomized this with her provocative, sexy body line and a walk that had so much bounce …Plus, her skin had a lustrous California gleam. I thought of her as a person 
who actually shimmered.”


But Wimbledon didn’t exactly do shimmer.
 Sure, over in Paris Dior was creating waves with new look innovations, but starchy old Wimbledon was still stuck with its wartime…obligatory kilt-length skirts. Yawn!


Nevertheless, Tinling was eager to speak his incendiary fashion truth to the powers that be. So, with both glee and trepidation, he created a stunning dress trimmed with satin that bared Moran’s considerably good looking 25-year-old knees and, with his touch of genius, adorned Gussy’s panties with a mere two inch strip of lace.


The world stopped.


The lace revolution began, yet white prevails!


Editors note:

In 1949 GORGEOUS GUSSY MORAN was the most talked about female athlete on the planet! Race horses, airliners, ships, plays were all named after her. Kings, Princes, Playboys all chased after her.

WIMBLEDON pay attention. Next year is a BIG anniversary for fashion thru the decades.

And Gorgeous Gussy Moran Big Debut With Her Frilly, Laced, panties. Knickers or undergarments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *