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Fresh off the doubles win that scored her a fourth Olympic gold medal, Venus Williams returned to this side of the Atlantic to celebrate the relaunch of her EleVen by Venus Williams line of tennis wear. The intimate garden party, which took place at Rita Schrager‘s Southampton estate, also served as a teaser for her New York Fashion Week debut this September.
Rocking a rose garden print dress that she will sport at the U.S. Open, the tennis legend hit custom white Wilson tennis balls with the likes of Adelina Wong Ettelson and scribe Marshall Heyman. Williams may have been going a bit easier than usual on her “opponents,” but some of the rallies were nonetheless impressive to watch. To be sure, some players proved more up to the task than others, but as they say…what happens on the tennis court, stays on the tennis court. For those not quite up to par, blaming the heat was probably the most convenient excuse.
Luckily, there was a wide array of refreshments to help keep cool. Jamba Juice (Williams is one of the brand’s franchise owners) provided Berry-Up-Beet smoothies, and Talbott Teas served up thirst-quenching glasses of their organic Luscious Lemon Meringue Iced Tea, said to be “steeped in style.” Grey Goose dispatched mixologists to prepare four signature drinks, but the Grey Goose MaVen, named after Venus, was the crowd favorite.
Only vegan snacks were served at the event, in a nod to the plant-based diet Williams has adopted since her diagnosis with Sjorgen’s syndrome. ”I feel more energetic than I have in a long time,” Williams told AVENUEinsider, in between tennis sets and endless meet-and-greets which she handled, literally, like a pro. She is also a fan of the Hamptons, even if she was unable to spend the entire weekend out there: she was flying to Cincinnati that evening to play in their tournament on Sunday.
Other notable guests included Dylan Lauren, Fern Mallis, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Gigi Howard, Gigi Grazer, Star Jones and “Gossip Girl’s” Michael Michele, who demonstrated the collection’s versatility both on and off the court by pairing a white “Love” top with white wide-leg slacks.