Serena Williams covers Vogue’s June Olympics-themed issue, striding arm-in-arm with Ryan Lochte, a six-time Olympic medalist for swimming. Lochte is making news as only the fourth man in the history of the storied fashion bible to appear on its cover. Soccer player Hope Solo is also featured in a gold ruched suit that matches Williams’.
“George Clooney, Richard Gere, and LeBron James are the only other men to have graced the magazine’s cover,” according to the Daily Mail.
Williams has now joined the list of African-American Vogue cover stars to have been featured in group photos, in addition to the limited number of blacks (less than 20) to have posed for the tome’s cover alone.
The Dail Mail reports that some find the Olympics issue cover bland and lacking in glamour, but a blog post on the New York magazine web site states that this alignment of fashion with sports is a smart move by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
“Of course, Wintour is clearly aware of the overlaps between the sports and fashion worlds,” Charlotte Cowles writes for the New York City-themed magazine site. “Sure, a lot of fashion fans may not be interested in sports — and vice versa — but the two industries have a lot in common. Their stars become huge celebrities. Both embrace extreme physical ideals, nutty personalities, and showiness. What athletes wear, both in and out of the game, is carefully examined. The way people define themselves by what they wear is not unlike how people define themselves by certain sports teams.
“Fashion and sports are both utterly frivolous and culturally essential. Both can involve more than a fair amount of spandex, glitter, and sequins,” Cowles concludes.
Given Williams’ secondary career in fashion design, the tennis star is the perfect poster model to embody this merger of athleticism and style.
Plus, Vogue’s new commitment to promoting healthy images (rather than bodies that appear to be ravaged by anorexia) might have something to do with the selection of Serena Williams for the June cover. Say what you will about Williams’ body — and there have been some heated discussions — no one has ever accused the curvy athlete of encouraging anyone to develop an eating disorder.
What do you think of Serena Williams on the cover of Vogue’s June issue?
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb