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Athena Tennis Girl Dress Mystery Revealed

May 21, 2015 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

The white tennis dress featured in one of the most iconic posters from the 70s – Athena’s Tennis Girl  – accompanies a new exhibition called ‘Powerful Posters: Tennis and Advertising, 1893-2015’ at Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, located at the home of the world-famous Championships.

The vibrant new display, which opened on 20 March 2015, captures the rich history of tennis culture, fashions and traditions throughout the ages.

Tennis Girl, which first featured on a 1977 calendar, later achieved worldwide fame as a poster, produced by Athena, selling more than 2 million copies worldwide. The poster is so well-known that the pose has been parodied several times, even by 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash. The model, Fiona Butler, was 18 years old at the time and had borrowed the dress and racket from her friend, Carol Knotts. The dress was handmade by Knotts herself from a pattern.

Visitors to the exhibition will see posters dating from 1893 to the present day, revealing how tennis has been used to sell everything from fashion and films to holidays and hotels. A white silhouette of a young girl leaps mid-game in a 1930s poster advertising milk whilst further on in the exhibit visitors can see the iconic 1950s poster for Ida Lupino’s film, Hard, Fast and Beautiful!

Curator, Anna Renton, describes the excitement behind Powerful Posters: “This new exhibition will not only interest tennis fans but also fascinate a wider audience as it explores how the theme of tennis has been used to promote a surprising range of things within different cultural and artistic periods from the late 19th century to the present day.”

The exhibition also showcases the official poster for The Championships 2015. Created by artist and illustrator Yulia Brodskaya, the poster is an elegant and detailed paper illustration, which brings to life the intricacies and traditions of The Championships in a design that celebrates the new start date of The Championships in 2015.

Visitors to the Museum can complete their experience by taking the exclusive Blue Badge Guide Tour of the Wimbledon grounds giving an intimate look at Wimbledon, and the delights of The Championships.

For up-to-date information visit or call +44 (0)20 8946 6131

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