Maria Sharapova, who designs all of her own competition outfits, considers every slightest detail when crafting her tournament wardrobes. For example, there's the color of the clay: "You don't want to clash with the court. Like, say the French Open, you have the red clay, so you have to think about that red background," she said at last night's party for her Cole Haan shoe line. "And it's Paris," she continued, "so you're thinking about Coco Chanel. For one of the dresses I wore for that tournament a couple years ago, I had a little Tiffany pearl on the back of my dress. It was a very simple detail that maybe no one could even see, but it's just about the tradition and the feeling." There's no need to look ladylike at the U.S. Open, though: "In New York, you have that crazy crowd and you feel like you can be a little bit more risqué. I always feel like I can be a little bit more glitzy than I usually am in my everyday life, so it's fun."
Sharapova took a similarly hands-on approach during the development of her Cole Haan shoe line, even providing "some really bad sketches" for the design team. Her artistic labors yielded a mix of ballet flats, heels, and boots with crisscrossing lace-up details, all featuring the Nike Air cushioning in the sole that actually make them comfortable, Sharapova insisted, tilting her foot sideways so that we could see the stiletto spike of her peep-toe bootie.
Speaking of heels, Sharapova's really tall. Not just high-heels-tall, but crick-in-your-neck-when-you-talk-to-her tall. (She's six foot two in bare feet, which places her at around six foot six in her heels.) Has she ever felt self-conscious about adding extra inches to her height, since she's already so vertically well-endowed? "I'm just so used to always being tall," she added, shrugging. "Sometimes even when I'm in flats I'm taller than everyone else." Being an athlete, though, with very fine-tuned leg muscles to look after, Sharapova usually sticks to ballet flats. She's also quite modest off the court: "I don't wear many skirts or short things in my everyday life. Maybe it's because I have to wear them so much on the court," she said. If you associate skimpy bottoms with stuffing tennis balls in your underwear, such a choice is understandable.