Venus Williams’s Regal Oscar Look Was a Grand Slam
Much of the magic of 2022’s Oscars wouldn’t have been possible without Venus Williams. The tennis legend and her sister Serena produced Best Picture nominee, King Richard, which tells the story of their ascent from unknowns to sports prodigies under the tutelage of their determined father. The film, which earned its star Will Smith the Best Actor prize and provided the ceremony’s opening thanks to Beyoncé’s rousing performance of its theme, was a deeply personal project that Williams will never forget.
After years of behind-the-scenes work, being honored with praise from critics and up for some of Hollywood’s most prestigious awards was heartening. “It’s been an amazing journey these past few weeks,” Williams shared post-event. “There have been so many unbelievable moments leading to this exciting night, and I kept having to pinch myself.”
The moment’s significance was something Williams wanted to honor within her ensemble. Working with image architect Law Roach to create looks for both the red carpet and the Vanity Fair after-party, she sought to push herself beyond her fashion comfort zone. “Throughout awards season, I just wanted to keep raising the bar and making the most of every moment,” says Williams. “I’m usually stepping off a tennis court or in workout clothes when the cameras are on me, so it was fun to get dressed up and dive into the glitz and glam over these past few weeks.”
Roach’s expertise—he’s the man responsible for the bold sartorial statements of Zendaya, Halsey, and Hunter Schafer—allowed Williams to experiment. “It was the most incredible experience to work with Law because he has so much experience in this space,” she says. “We clicked right away, and I knew it would be a great match.” The pair worked with Elie Saab to create a white crepe column gown with a plunging neckline detailed with metal hardware accentuated with Elsa Peretti’s iconic Tiffany & Co. ‘Bone’ cuffs. “I love the entire look,” says Williams. “Of course, the dress itself was stunning with the plunging neckline and silver trim, [but] I also fell in love with the silver cuff bracelets on each wrist. They tied the entire look together, giving it this futuristic yet elegant feel.”
With hairstylist Lacy Redway providing a ’60s inspired half-up, half-down coif, makeup artist Karina Milan using Byredo’s innovative new cosmetics line to enhance her natural beauty, Williams felt like a goddess. Once the final touches—Tiffany & Co. High Tide earrings and Stuart Weitzman pumps—were on, she was ready to rule the carpet. “I want to feel powerful and unique in my look,” explains Williams. “Law, along with my glam team Lacy and Karina, help me achieve that every single time.”
Though her Elie Saab gown and the corseted white gown she chose for the VF bash were perfect, Williams’s evening was more about film than fashion. Seeing the story of her life shared so poignantly on the big screen was a triumph, and she hopes that all the awards season buzz allows more young women to see the film and be inspired by its message. “This all means so much to my family, but it’s bigger than us,” says Williams. “I hope this story shows young girls everywhere that they can achieve their dreams too, no matter how big.”
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