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White tennis dress worn by Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon in 1971


White tennis dress worn by Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon in 1971

Object information


Ted Tinling (1910-1990) combined his two great passions, tennis and fashion, in a career that spanned over fifty years. An accomplished tennis player in his own right, he was also a tournament official, referee and master of ceremonies, but is perhaps best known as the designer of women's tennis outfits.

Until the early 1970s, tennis tournaments maintained strict dress regulations and it was mandatory for tennis outfits to be all white, although coloured trim was allowed. The Grand Slam events (the Australian, French and US Opens, and Wimbledon) were more rigorous than other competitions, with Wimbledon one of the most conservative. Tinling's ability to interpret a player's style and represent it in an outfit ensured his designs would always be in demand. Between 1952 and 1961, Tinling dressed every female Wimbledon champion and, in 1973, the winner of every major women's tournament wore a Tinling outfit.

After Goolagong had won several minor tournaments in England in 1970, Tinling approached her coach, Vic Edwards, and offered to design an outfit for her to wear at Wimbledon. According to Goolagong, 'each year he selected a group of women - some of them established stars, some rising - and designed a range of tournament dresses for them.' In designing for Goolagong, as he did for all his clients, Tinling attempted to capture her nature: 'At times ... I felt I was grappling with a ghost, trying to grasp the essence of her elusive personality, so as to interpret this in her dresses. The real answer is that Evonne's beauty lies in the exquisite grace of her movements. When she is still, it seems impossible to capture her true identity.'

Physical description

A white sleeveless tennis dress with a scalloped hem and bolero-style bodice with an embroidered aqua flower trim at the hem and bustline. The dress is fastened with a side zip and concealed dress studs with a hook and eye under the arm. The dress is possibly made of polycotton or polyester. The label reads 'Teddy Tinling / MADE IN ENGLAND / London.'

Statement of significance

The Evonne Goolagong Cawley Collection consists of a tennis dress and warm-up jacket. The dress is white with a scalloped hem and bolero-style top with an embroidered aqua flower trim. It was designed by world-renowned tennis couturier, Teddy Tinling in either 1971 or 1972. The jacket is designed by sportswear company Fila, and is predominantly white with a red collar, red stripes at top of sleeves and a navy zip. It dates from 1980. The jacket has been autographed: 'Keep Smiling, Evonne Goolagong Cawley'.

Evonne Goolagong Cawley is one of Australia's most successful female tennis players. During her career she won seven Grand Slam tournaments, including 4 consecutive Australian Open titles and two Wimbledon titles nine years apart. She is the only Indigenous Australian to achieve success in tennis at an international level and has been inducted into both the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame.

Object information

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