Serena Williams Makes a Statement in Shimmery, Sequined Figure-Hugging Black Gown at CFDA Awards

She made history as the first athlete to win the Fashion Icon award.
Serena Williams poses in front of a white and black backdrop in a black dress and floral diamond necklace.

Serena Williams.

American tennis icon Serena Williams made history last night as the first athlete to win the CFDA Fashion Icon award. However, that was not the only way that Williams made a statement at the ceremony on the evening of Nov. 6.

In a move that was fitting for the occasion, the 42-year-old showed up to the red carpet in an outfit that was particularly fitting for the award she was bestowed. Williams wore a completely sequined black gown, which featured a flattering sweetheart neckline that was fitted through the bodice. A trailing piece of fabric at the hip created a train, a beautiful detail on an already gorgeous dress.

But it was the back of the dress that had us absolutely floored and completely in awe of her style. The bodice fit like a classic corset, with lace-up detailing running up the back. Rather than a simple (and expected) black tie, the back featured a red, black and white stripped ribbon, which matched the ribbon tying the icon’s braid in place. Pure genius.

“What an honor to accept the Fashion Icon Award from @cfda ✨ it was an incredible evening,” Williams wrote in an Instagram post from the night, which highlighted her iconic style and beautiful Thom Browne gown. 

The athlete’s iconic court style always gave the impression that she knew how to dress, and—though she’s certainly proven as much on previous red carpets—her CFDA look took our understanding of her fashion sense to the next level. But, as is the case with everything she does, Williams absolutely nailed it.

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Martha Zaytoun


Martha Zaytoun is a Lifestyle & Trending News writer for SI Swimsuit. Before joining the team, Martha worked on the editorial board of the University of Notre Dame’s student magazine and on the editorial team at Chapel Hill, Durham and Chatham Magazines in North Carolina. When not working, Martha loves to watercolor and oil paint, run or water ski. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a huge Fighting Irish fan.