“Your touch on the world will carry on forever, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have witnessed it,” Williams said of the late Off-White designer.
Serena Williams is paying tribute to her friend Virgil Abloh on the anniversary of his death.
On Monday, the tennis star paid tribute to the late Off-White designer, who died from cancer in November of last year at the age of 41.
Williams, 41, expressed her grief over the passing of the prominent fashion designer by posting a nostalgic black-and-white photo of herself and Abloh from a Nike campaign photo shoot on Instagram.
“It’s been a year and I still can’t articulate the grief that I feel,” she captioned the shot. “I am so grateful to have experienced it firsthand and worked with you because your influence on the world will last forever. I still think about you all the time. @virgilabloh, always and forever.”
While speaking to Vogue in June for a video homage to Abloh, Williams voiced her regret for giving up the opportunity to wear one of Abloh’s most daring creations—the initial boundary-pushing dress he planned for her to wear at the 2019 French Open.
“I still kind of regret not doing what Virgil asked me to do,” Williams acknowledged at the time.
He asked me to enter the court wearing only this long skirt with the absurd length and a cloak with a train. I admire fashion and enjoy pushing the envelope, but I just don’t think I can pull this off, Virgil.”
One year after donning a viral black Nike catsuit, Williams chose to wear an Abloh-designed crop top, tennis skirt, and printed-cape jacket (which was later disallowed from the competition). The phrases “mother,” “champion,” “queen,” and “divine” were embroidered on the cape jacket.
When she ran into Abloh shortly after the 2019 Open, she made sure to remedy her error.
“I was just not brave enough to go out there in all the red dirt, and just go out in this train, of like, a Met Gala at the French Open,” she recalled.
Williams first collaborated with Abloh in 2018 on a Nike line honoring the 23-time Grand Slam champion. At the 2019 Met Gala, Williams also wore a pair of Air Force 1s with Virgil Abloh designs.
Williams walked the runway alongside Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Amber Valletta, and Helena Christensen in February, four months after the Off-White designer died, as a tribute to the designer during Paris Fashion Week.