Edwardian tennis dress, 1900–1910.




The Marco Island Historical Society (MIHS) announces the opening of a new exhibit at the Marco Island Historical Museum (MIHM), “Courting Style: Women’s Tennis Fashion.” The exhibition is free and open to the public, from February 1 to March 16, 2022. An opening reception will be held on February 3 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Island Country Club Charitable Foundation is the presenting sponsor.

Tennis has been a popular activity for men and women since the 1870s and first developed as a casual leisure activity that men and women could play together at social gatherings. Early tennis fashions developed from styles and fabrics that were already in use for other popular outdoor activities, such as cricket and croquet.

Just as every decade has had notable fashion designers, tennis has also had its share of trendsetters who have dared to wear provocative outfits on the court. Their bold and assertive attire on the pitch influenced changing fashion as well as social mores. From the collections of the Museum of International Tennis Hall of Fame, “Courting Style: Women’s Tennis Fashion” explores this intersection of tennis and fashion.

The exhibit includes clothing ranging from the 1880s to those worn by some of modern tennis’ most iconic players. The exhibit also includes dresses, artwork and photography from the Hall of Fame’s Ted Tinling collection and archives. Tinling designed dresses for some of the greatest tennis players from the late 1940s to the early 1980s. His couture designs were alluring, colorful, groundbreaking and highlighted the player’s unique personality. “Courting Style: Women’s Tennis Fashion” is organized by the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport, Rhode Island, and on tour by ExhibitsUSA, a program of the Mid-America Arts Alliance.






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Venus Williams at Wimbledon, 2010.




A look at Marco Island’s tennis history will be featured in a companion MIHS exhibit. Since the Mackle brothers began developing Marco Island in the 1960s, tennis, fishing and golf have played a central role in shaping the perception of the island as an outdoor sports enthusiast’s paradise. air. The Marco Beach Hotel played a particularly important role in bringing tennis to Marco Island in the 1970s, hosting tournaments and offering guest exhibits and clinics.

Some of the biggest names in women’s tennis have played on Marco Island. Tournaments such as the now-defunct Avon Cup – part of the Virginia Slims World Championship Series – were held at Marriott’s Marco Beach Resort (now JW Marriott), bringing world-class tennis to the island. Tennis stars to play on Marco Island range from Andrea Jaeger and Bonnie Gadusek to Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and others.






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Tracy Austin at Wimbledon, 1977.









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Maria Sharapova at the French Open, 2011.









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The Avon Tennis Tournament on Marco Island in 1983 featured Wendy Turnbull and Rosie Casals facing Andrea Jaeger and Mary Lou Piatek.




The Marco Island Historical Museum is located at 180 South Heathwood Drive. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free and the site is accessible to people with reduced mobility. For general information, visit www.themihs.org or call 239-642-1440.

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