The WNBA’s best-dressed players and their visionary collaborators share their strategies for creating impactful outfits.
Taking place on Friday, July 8, the Orange Carpet is a visual celebration for players of the 2022 WNBA All-Star Weekend. It’s a rare opportunity for players to apply personal touches to a formal dress code, which adds a glamorous moment to their versatile outfits this season. While some gamers are naturally cool enough to style their hair, we invited stylists, brands, and friends to talk about their strategies for creating the best Orange Carpet outfits.
This All-Star Edition of “The Win Designer: Flyest Fits of the Week” offers a behind-the-scenes look at the relationships between players and their trusted style advisors. From connecting with pro stylists for the season to asking teammates for outfit help, creative collaboration fuels Orange Carpet’s best outfits. The much-photographed event also allows gamers who are part of a brand’s family to show off their hottest releases. After missing the orange carpet in person last year, each player brought the energy that reflects the future of the WNBA.
Only Erica Wheeler would say her Orange Carpet outfit makes her feel “super casual, super comfy with that Gucci and Adidas tracksuit.” As an Adidas athlete, Wheeler wore a head-to-toe look from the Adidas x Gucci collection with the expertise of bukunmi, photographer, stylist and artistic director. Focusing on Erica’s androgynous yet elevated personal style, Bukunmi says “they discussed how comfort was key for the orange rug, so the inspiration was to make sure all the pieces were classic but sophisticated”.
“Erica’s confidence and directness are so refreshing and dashing. I thought it would be nice to emphasize her cool, calm, collected demeanor while accentuating her playfulness. The new Adidas x Gucci collection highlights value the legacy while establishing a new creative code and for me, Erica does the same in her own way,” says Bukunmi. “Combined with Erica’s sentimental and high-value jewelry, the look exuded a refined yet personal touch.
Known for her sneaker collection, Jewell Loyd caught the eye with a rare pair of Dior x Air Jordan 1 Low sneakers. They are more than exaggerated for the Seattle Storm player, who explains that “For me, I look down and appreciate everything that I have been through. My story, my journey and seeing that I can have something like this, and be a part of it, means a lot. Since Loyd already owned the shoes and worked with the stylist Sydney Bordonaro all season, the longtime friends haven’t given too much thought to their process… Bordonaro explains, “I saw them when I went to Seattle to check on his wardrobe and I immediately said ‘Yeah, that’s what you wear to All-Star.'”
Bordonaro finds inspiration in a Devin Booker-like style for Jewell, which is “super clean, comfortable and relaxed, with a subtle flex!” It’s really her. With pinstripe pants, the NV Neo Waveson goggles from NEWVINTAGE, and a silk shirt, she explains they went with “mafia style.” Although the final look was simple, she sent Loyd a variety of accessories like a matching Dior bucket hat. Overall, Loyd is happy with their collaboration, which allows her to focus on other parts of the game: “It’s been great, Sydney dresses really well, so it’s easier for us to choose outfits .”
Looking like a supermodel, Isabelle Harrison is the perfect player to bring runway-worthy pieces to the orange carpet. As a Jordan Brand athlete, she’s been making waves with her pre-game outfits that reimagine the iconic Jumpman in leathers, delicate porcelain prints and rhinestones from an independent designer. Kim Shui. “Isabelle is a modern-day hero,” Shui explains, “On the court she is tough and focused, off the court she is a really lovely, kind and likeable woman. We wanted our look to show that duality.
For the orange carpet, Harrison wore a custom Kim Shui bolero and snakeskin skirt to fulfill Shui’s vision which is equal parts “sculptural, armored, sexy and confident.” Featuring a Chinese-style embroidered cloud brocade, the gold fabric is meant to increase the good fortune of the Dallas Wings player: the cloud design is “seen as an auspicious sign and symbolic of celestial mobility”, and the Chinese word for cloud yún (云) is pronounced as yún (运) for luck. Sharing a mutual respect for strong, sexy women, their ongoing collaboration introduces new textures and shapes to classic Jordan sports bras and bodysuits.
With big eyes and big eyelashes, to see her bright future in the league, Rhyne Howard used her debut on the orange carpet to show what she cares about most. The large emblem on his jacket customized by news, which makes contemporary letterman jackets for league players, contains a “TC” and a “5” to honor Howard’s late friend Terrance Clark. “She’s rocking the dog tag collar with a picture of him, so we wanted to be sure to keep that as part of the look,” the stylist explains. Amadi Brooks. Although this is the first time they’ve teamed up, it’s a seamless addition to Howard’s ongoing story.
“Rhyne’s playing and personality are a juxtaposition in themselves,” says Brooks, “His playing is powerful, fluid and strong; while his demeanor is sweet, calm and calm. I wanted to sum this up. The jacket was a nice homage, so I wanted it to have its moment and speak for itself. Brooks adds that they landed on an Aaliyah vibe to give the oversized letterman jacket a ’90s flair and “the incorporation of the leather crop top with the baggy pants was very intentional.” True to Howard’s “feminine tomboy aesthetic,” her jacket is paired with stacked cargo pants by the designer Corey D. Williams‘ label, GREVYI.
Even when she’s in her signature streetwear outfits, Arike Ogunbowale has a natural ability to shine. Although fans might have expected an elevated streetwear outfit from the Dallas Wings player, she transformed her usual drip into a shiny silk tailored suit from KA Originals. Work with Kristine Anigwea gamer turned fashion entrepreneur, Ogunbowale wore a green silk suit with the brand’s signature cropped blazer and wide leg trousers.
There is a balance between elements borrowed from Anigwe’s elegant style and elements essential to the Ogunbowale image, such as a gold chain with its official logo. Instead of being an individual player’s outfit, this outfit reveals more about their two histories. Drawing inspiration from their shared heritage, Anigwe explains, “We are both of Nigerian descent and we understand the importance of the color green. It was a good way to represent and show love to Nigeria. The bespoke suit was constructed while Ogunbowale was in Jamaica, but the couple used their discussions over the garment’s design, fabric and color to achieve its Orange Carpet aesthetic.
There must be a secret to Natasha Howard’s extremely cool aura, but learning more about her process will leave you even more perplexed. The New York Liberty player typically wears intricate color-coordinated outfits, but found success in an unassuming Orange Carpet look from ZARA. “It’s simple, I’m very simple,” Howard says, “All my photos, I do my own hair — actually, Michaela was the one who picked out this outfit for me, last minute. We were in Vegas , she helped me choose it. With the growing trend of gamers styling other gamers, perhaps Howard will join that legacy, as she says that “If anyone needs [a stylist]’Hi I’m here.'”
Michaela Onyenwere confirms it was as simple as it sounds: “I was excited when Tash asked me to go to the mall and help her pick out her outfit, I suggested Zara and it was really fun .” Howard wanted a casual yet sophisticated look, but no one knows your style better than a teammate. “I knew it would go well with the tailored suit pants. I thought blue would be good because black is boring and she can’t be boring at All-Star,” Onyenwere says, “Overall she looked like a baddie and I was proud of her. and happy to be part of his experience.
Drawing people in with her sultry natural look, Arella Guirantes brought a powerhouse outfit to the orange carpet that appears to be game-bride. Confusing sportswriters with her “Jordan bride look”, the outfit is the culmination of an ongoing collaboration with Vaquera, an independent brand based in New York, and the Jordan brand. Wearing official Jordan brand womenswear like her white sports bra, Vaquera added a tailored ivory lace cape with an oversized silver belt for a moment of disruptive style.
After seeing Guirantes’ fierce style, Vaquera designers Patric DiCaprio, Claire Sullivan and Bryn Tauber said they “were thrilled to hear that she loves the characters, dressing and the transformative power of fashion. “. Vaquera created several pre-game tunnel outfits for Family player Jordan Brand, all of which are “loosely superhero-inspired.” To reflect Guirantes’ love of Marvel characters, her lace cape was inspired by one of her favorites, the moon knight. “When you wear our clothes, we want you to feel empowered. We wanted Arella to feel confident, like a superhero,” says Vaquera. WNBA, Guirantes wore his own shoes and earrings as a finishing touch.
Newly hired WNBA reporter Kirsten Chen writes a lifestyle and fashion column for WNBA.com throughout the season and can be reached on Twitter via @hotgothwriter. The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the WNBA or its clubs.