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Talking tennis fashion, Venus Williams style

January 25, 2010 |  1:49 pm

Venus It happens a lot at the Australian Open, talk about clothes. The clothing sponsors often debut new lines or try to design outfits for its top customers that feel Australia-ish.

For example, Maria Sharapova's dress was gauzy and built on the gold and green colors of the Aussie flag. It was awful, and, thankfully, Sharapova lost in the first round so the dress came and went quickly.

Defending men's champion Rafael Nadal has a form-fitting bright-orange shirt that has gotten some criticism for being borderline bizarre, but at least on high-definition television, it looks great.

And then there is Venus Williams. Her clothes are designed by her own company, EleVen. Her flow-y, yellow dress has great movement, but you do need to look close. At first glance, it seems as if the front of the dress is so low Venus might be in danger of a Janet Jackson-like clothing malfunction. And when she has lunged for shots out wide, intrepid Internet fans have suggested Venus is "going commando."

Which is just silly, it turns out. Besides the yellow dress, Venus is wearing flesh-colored panties and also a flesh-colored camisole.

We know this because Venus has tweeted and messaged on Facebook with concerned fans: "My dress for the Australian Open has been one of my best designs ever! It's all about slits and V-neck. I am wearing undershorts the same color as my skin so it gives the slits in my dress the full effect."

Project Runway contestants couldn't have explained the design any better. And, to paraphrase Tim Gunn, Venus has made it work.

-- Diane Pucin