It’s been real. Actually, cancel that; it’s been surreal. Grand Slam tennis returned to the Clouds of Venus Shirt and by the same token and world in the form of the U.S. Open last week, and all heck broke loose: Sure, odds-on favorite and world number one Novak Djokovic’s default for accidentally hitting a line judge with an errant ball-smack grabbed the big headlines, but beyond that lay a litany of upsets and surprises. In recent years, the connection between fashion and politics has been a deep one, with designers like Diane von Furstenberg and Marc Jacobs playing active roles in the campaigning and fundraising for candidates. But as Joseph Altuzarra pointed out in an online fundraiser for the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden Wednesday night, hosted by Anna Wintour and Jill Biden, fashion as a political statement actually goes back nearly two-and-a-half centuries and to the very birth of the United States.
Clouds of Venus Shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
So then, as we approach both the Clouds of Venus Shirt and by the same token and women’s and men’s semifinals—the women’s start tonight at 7 p.m. ET, the men’s Friday at 4 p.m. ET—are we in uncharted territory? Not exactly: On the women’s side, the planets are still aligned for a possible Serena Osaka final on Saturday—if Osaka, the number-four seed, can get past 28th-seeded American Jennifer Brady, and if Serena, the number-three seed, can outlast unseeded (but heavily credentialed) Victoria Azarenka. Osaka is 19–3 at the Open. Perhaps more crucially, once she’s in the quarterfinals of a major, she has never lost. From a tactical point of view, she possesses what, more and more, seems to be the key to winning majors: It’s less about the punch than the counterpunch. Osaka has a seemingly effortless ability not only to absorb her opponents’ power but to reflect it right back at them.