Venus Williams hires gymnasts and ballerinas for EleVen presentation, her first New York Fashion Week show

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Tennis star Venus Williams underscored the athletic aesthetic of her EleVen clothing line by hiring gymnasts and ballerinas for its Spring 2013 New York Fashion Week presentation. Her first formal show during the most important seven days in fashion, Williams chose to have her models perform various feats yesterday in the center of a theatrical layout of chairs, rather than strut down a catwalk.

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But these models were more than mere posers. Stars in their own right, big names such as middleweight champion and celebrity trainer Michael Olajide and dancer Albert Evans of the New York City Ballet sported Williams’ smart apparel, showcasing how to move with style.

“My vision for sportswear is that you should be able to express yourself. I don’t feel like you should be told how to wear your clothes,” Williams said of her collection. “If you want to be more daring and wear a print, or mix and match, or just go classic, you should be able to do that, and EleVen allows you to do that.”

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Williams, who holds a design degree, is excited to see EleVen’s distribution to major retailers for the first time in December. Previous capsule collections of  EleVen had only been available online or at specialty outlets. This is yet one more major accomplishment for Venus on the heels of her gold medal win in women’s doubles tennis with her sister Serena at the London Olympics.

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.