You don’t need to be a passionate expert of tennis to experience the Wimbledon Tournament. More than just a sports event, Wimbledon has become a quintessential moment of britishness, and, when the weather is nice, can be the perfect day out. From watching matches on the pitches, to having strawberries and Pimm’s watching the big screens, it’s no wonder Wimbledon is considered the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world.
The advertisements produced by Wimbledon hold a similar level of prestige as the games themselves. Times have changed considerably from the first black and white print poster in 1894 highlighting the “Lawn Tennis Championships”. While these designs would change considerably, the Club wanted to maintain the spirit of its traditional presence.
In 1928, London Transport employed artist Frederick Herry Perry to design a series of posters to promote services to Southfields tube station, the route most people would take to get to Wimbledon. This saw a considerable move towards livelier colours than in the earlier materials, creating a minimalist narrative with echoes of Art Deco. Perry’s innovative design and inclusive graphics helped to open up Wimbledon to the great public in terms of interest.
Celebrating tennis culture, fashion and traditions throughout history, the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum brings together posters dating from 1893 to the present day, and explores how the glamour of tennis has been used to advertise fashion, film and everything in-between.
The use of modern advertising and marketing practices and channels has allowed Wimbledon to continue to thrive whilst not losing its traditional image. Viewers can connect with the tournament through marketing promotions produced not only by its official suppliers, but also by brands using the umbrella of the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
Within the hallowed gates of Wimbledon alone over 40,000 pints of the summery, herbaceous cocktail will be sold in just under 2 weeks. The rest of London, and the rest of the UK, will be throwing back the posh concoction as the summer months continue.
In the UK, the drink is usually made in a pitcher filled with ice and a generous glug of Pimm’s, topped up with sparkling lemonade and then garnished with every summer fruit you can fit into the glass. Strawberries, raspberries, oranges, blackberries – as long as it’s technically possible to add some liquid to the fruit, anything goes. Add a few sprigs of mint, some sliced cucumber and you’re ready. Pubs sell it by the bucket-load in the summers, as twenty-somethings spill out into the streets soaking up the long English summer days, in true Wimbledon spirit.
Something about tennis, strawberries and cream seem to go together in the English psyche. The very taste of strawberries doesn’t just conjure up a green, pollen-filled English summer, but also the thwack of ball on racket. This dish is said to have been invented by Cardinal Wolsey, an adviser to King Henry VIII in the 1500s. It has been a delicacy at Wimbledon since the 19th century, and from then on a great culinary tradition was born.
With Wimbledon currently underway, a look through fashion archives reminds us that there was once a time when women practiced their backhand not in neon spandex, but wearing lace-up corsets, court-length skirts, ladylike slippers, and even, on occasion, a well-placed fur. Then there was Katherine Hepburn, taking to the green, racket in hand, in a pair of shorts, which one thought might be shocking until, a few years later, came the advent of the short tennis skirt. It is an event as much about the fashion as it is the strawberries, swooning over foreign tennis players, and of course the tennis itself.
As Wimbledon has now commenced, here at Bex Rox we have selected pieces that we think should be added to your wardrobe to channel the Wimbledon vibe.