To me, tennis represents everything I am not: athletic, preppy, wealthy, exclusive, chic. But lately I’ve been intrigued by the culture, history, and style associated with the game. Plus, it just looks like fun. So when Miu Miu invited me to attend an event at the legendary West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, Queens, I nabbed the opportunity to finally participate in a match. I also figured it would be a comical scene—as I’m a generally uncoordinated person who rarely works out—to sweat beneath the unrelenting New York City summer sun, hitting a ball around with absolutely zero fundamental skills, while supercool party attendees look on. At the very least, it might make for a funny story.
I strapped on a pair of Converse sneakers (those are good for running around on the court, right?) and trekked to Queens, where the Italian fashion house had given the exclusive tennis club a makeover. Fences lining the perimeter were draped with images of interlocking rackets, and seats with umbrellas had been set up for guests to kick back and nosh on miniature sandwiches and shrimp cocktail while they gazed over the vast array of grass courts.
As the day heated up, guests including Richie Shazam (who was among a handful of attendees wearing the storied Miu Miu ultra mini skirt, which she paired with a navy blue, silk tank top), Athena Calderone, and Ella Emhoff streamed into the venue. The purpose of this event was to celebrate Miu Miu’s fall 2022 collection, which invitees did in spectacular fashion: white pleated skirts with red and blue stripes; caramel-colored loafers worn with white tube socks; crisp, cropped button-down shirts, and tortoise shell sunglasses of all shapes and varieties abounded.
I thought the 90-plus degree weather might deter people from playing, but in fact, the opposite happened. Guests ditched their shoes, leaving a pile of slingback, pointed-toe kitten heels near their lunch tables, and sauntered onto the courts, eager to get into the game. Emhoff played a round of doubles with her boyfriend, and showed off her tennis prowess by lifting and flexing both arms like a bodybuilder. The model and filmmaker Amalie Gassmann gamely played a round in a khaki-colored ultra mini and sheer black knee socks. Some seasoned players swung their rackets around with expert-level ability (one dude was positively ripping, while wearing a pair of salmon-colored slacks and Tod’s driving shoes).
I then shifted my attention to Okan, one of the instructors tasked with guiding the day’s games, and mimicked the low crouch I’d seen tennis players assume on TV. My main goal was to not miss the ball when it came flying toward me, and to avoid getting sweaty (which quickly became unavoidable). Okan told me I was doing well—even expressing disbelief that this was my first time on the courts. If I have, by some miracle, tapped into my dormant athletic abilities and someday become a great, big, tennis star, I’ll have to thank Miu Miu during my Wimbledon championship speech.