By Jean Patteson | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted August 2, 2003
When Venus Williams steps onto center court at the U.S. Open later this month, she'll be wearing a tennis dress by Diane von Furstenberg and jewelry by Avon.
The dress will feature an original von Furstenberg chain-link print in black and white, and possibly a touch of hot pink. The jewelry will include a necklace, ring and earrings from Winning Styles, a new collection from Avon inspired by Venus and her sister Serena.
Venus, 23, was in Orlando Thursday to launch the collection during the opening ceremonies at Avon's annual convention, being held through Sunday at the Orange County Convention Center. Each piece is priced at $14.99 and will be available in September.
"My mother was an Avon representative when we were little," says Venus during an interview at the convention center. "Serena and I started doing commercials for Avon two years ago. The jewelry is the next step."
Wearing a cropped, taupe-silk jacket and matching low-rise pants that reveal a good 6 inches of toned abs in the front and a sliver of lime-green thong in the back, Venus showed off the jewelry.
Serena's set includes chandelier earrings, a necklace and silver-tone tennis bracelet set with rhinestones. "I get a ring instead of a bracelet," says Venus.
Her own necklace, a silver square with a sparkly center on a slender chain, is a copy of the piece in the Winning Styles collection -- except that hers is done in 18-karat white gold and pavé diamonds, she explains with obvious delight.
The sisters have strikingly different fashion styles, she says. "Serena is Versace -- racy, daring, provocative. I'm Moschino, more conservative but with a playful side."
Graceful and poised, Venus delights in talking fashion, and dreams of making it her career someday. "Not as a designer. More in fashion management, directing things," she says.
She is skilled at applying makeup for off-court appearances, but admits she hasn't much clue about doing her own hair.
"I wore braids for the first 20 years of my life," she says. "I learned to hit tennis balls, not do hair."