Serena Williams Is the G.O.A.T. of the 2023 CFDA Awards Red Carpet as She Receives Fashion Icon Award

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The tennis superstar became the first athlete to win the award, following previous winners like Naomi Campbell, Zendaya and Beyoncé

Williams is known as the G.O.A.T., a record-shattering athlete, entrepreneur, philanthropist, designer — and now, a fashion icon, thanks to the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

The tennis star received the 2023 CFDA Fashion Awards fashion icon honor Nov. 6, making her the first athlete to win the award.

And she hit the red carpet in a look worthy of her icon status.

Williams made her mark at the American Museum of Natural History in a bespoke black sequin dress, designed by CFDA Chairman Thom Browne. The design featured statement black sleeves and a train. She added even more sparkle via her David Yurman jewelry including the brand’s “Fleur de Mer” pavé diamond and pearl and pavé cable drop earrings.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve used fashion as an outlet to express myself — fashion gave me the confidence to step on the court and own who I was, and where I knew I was going,” Williams told the CFDA prior to the award show.

See All of the Best Red Carpet Photos from the Star-Studded 2023 CFDA Awards

In between collecting a record 23 Grand Slam singles titles throughout her career, Williams took on fashion school, a clothing line and the scrutiny of those who weren’t welcoming of her on-court style.

CFDA chairman Thom Browne called her “the ultimate example of individuality in everything she does.”

Serena Williams warms up prior to her match against Tatiana Golovin of France during the US Open at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on September 3, 2004 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York

Williams has delivered iconic looks throughout her 27-year professional career, from proving the denim miniskirt is match-ready at the 2004 US Open to donning a white blazer at Wimbledon a decade later. She cemented herself as a force of fashion in 2018, when her French Open catsuit was banned. French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli deemed the look unacceptable, saying that “one must respect the game and the place.”

The tennis champion shook off the controversy and pursued her dream, launching her clothing line S by Serena one year later. Just as Williams finds strength in her own style, she hoped to share that power with others through the line

Serena Williams warms up before the start of her women’s singles second round match against Russia’s Chanelle Scheepers on day four of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 26, 2014

Williams told Essence in 2019 that her clothes “represent women everywhere—indomitable mothers, daughters and sisters; resilient businesswomen and entrepreneurs; outsiders and underdogs; little girls with crazy dreams and unflinching women of color.”

The 2023 CFDA Fashion Awards, hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker, are being held at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

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