Suzanne Lenglen, 1920, photographed by Bettmann/CORBIS
As the French Open
gets underway, we remember the French designer Jean Patou
and his French muse who helped introduce the world to a classic: the tennis skirt. It was Patou’s radical designs — at a time when covered arms and legs were de rigueur for women, even during sport — that allowed tennis star Suzanne Lenglen to leap and swing her racket with a full range of motion. It might be said they boosted her ability to play — she won Wimbledon and the French Open six times each.