Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bridget Jones Comes to Wimbledon; Big Pants Are All the Rage on Centre Court This Week. They're a Far Cry from the Frilly Knickers Once Favoured by Female Tennis Stars

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bridget Jones Comes to Wimbledon; Big Pants Are All the Rage on Centre Court This Week. They're a Far Cry from the Frilly Knickers Once Favoured by Female Tennis Stars

Article excerpt

Byline: ALICE HART-DAVIS

WATCHING Wimbledon on Monday, you would have been forgiven for thinking that Bridget Jones had arrived on Court No 2. The slanging match between Anna Kournikova and Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova was much more than a tussle between tennis's pinup princesses - it was the battle of the big pants.

When they arrived on court, both girls appeared to be wearing very short skirts that sat low on the hip and extended only a couple of inches below the crotch. When they started playing, however, everyone gaped: they were both wearing enormous pants underneath. A fashion look that was out on Court No 1 again yesterday, this time modelled by the Belgian player Justine Henin.

These all-in-one skirt/shorts combos are called skorts (Kournikova's, with the cute little side-splits on the skirt, is a new Adidas special; yours for pound sterling30 at high-street sports shops.

Hantuchova's is by Nike, a Cool Motion Skirt Solid, pound sterling29.99 at Niketown.) Skorts aren't entirely new - they're highly prized fashion garments among girls under 10 - but Wimbledon is guaranteed to give them a new profile. And, in the general history of knickers-at-Wimbledon, the skort is a very modest and modern item of clothing.

It is sexy in a postmodern, postfeminist,

I-don't-need-lacy-pantstoshow-that-I'm-a-woman sort of way - not a fashion statement Gorgeous Gussie from the Sixties would have understood at all.

FOR the first few decades of ladies' tennis at Wimbledon, dress was very demure. Skirts were strictly below the knee. In 1924, the French champion Suzanne Lenglen wore one with so many pleats that she was able to execute one of her trademark highkicks without revealing much more than a well-turned calf. During the Thirties and Forties, skirts shortened a bit, but when a young American called Gussie Moran went on court in 1949 in frilly knickers and a bottom-skimming skirt, there was uproar. That the pants were high-fashion - by designer Teddy Tinling - was hardly the issue.

Spectators had previously only had inadvertent glimpses of underwear, but now, knickers - or underpanties, as they were coyly called - were suddenly right in their faces. …

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