The CN Tower, a dizzying Toronto landmark standing 553 metres in the sky has got nothing on the dizzying beauty of one tennis superstar,
Maria Sharapova. The fitter-than-thou blonde with an easy smile and even sharper wit staged a media event at Horizons restaurant to launch the Rogers Cup Tennis Tournament, as well as chat about her latest design collaboration with Sony Ericsson.

We stole a few quick moments with one of tennis’ most fashionable players (clad in Twenty8Twelve and her own Cole Haan-designed stilettos, no less!) to talk about style, design and why there’s no such thing as too much bling on the court. You are Sony Ericsson’s first Global Brand Ambassador. Tell us about it.

Maria Sharapova: Sony Ericcson and I have a great personal relationship. They understood that it was very important to me to be involved in the design process of the cell phone accessories (The rose-pink accessories are an arm-band cell phone carrier, travel wallet and a girly change purse. View them here.) I use my phone as an accessory and cannot live without it. I appreciated how Sony Ericcson wanted to hear my opinions on how to make the products better and more functional. In terms of inspiration, I just looked at the everyday life of a person; someone that is traveling, heading into a business meeting, going to a dinner function. Whatever their lifestyle may be, these accessories are not only fashionable, but also very functional. My personal favourite is the passport holder. I never travel without it! You’re known for loving fashion; when did it begin for you?

MS: I have always been very crafty; I used to make clothes or accessories all the time when I was younger because we didn’t have the money to go out and buy expensive items.

I remember going to a retailer like Express with my mom; she would turn the clothing items over to see how they were made, how they were stitched. For her, the quality of the product was always key in what she bought. If a sweater was well made and classic, she would buy it. I would always pipe in and tell her that her clothing choices were always so plain, but she taught me the idea of buying pieces that would stand the test of time, regardless of trends.

Maria on style on the next page …

Chcek out Maria at the Tag Heuer party!


Beyond that, I travel a ton. That’s definitely where my creativity comes from. Walking down the street, sitting at a café whether it’s Paris or Berlin, I love to check out what the young girls on the street are wearing. I literally take pictures of everyone! Hey, if people can take my pictures, I should most certainly be able to take snaps of them (laughs). Drawing, now that’s something I’m terrible at; I can’t draw a stick figure, but I’m pretty adept at bringing my ideas to the table, crafting inspiration boards, looking at fabric swatches, that sort of thing. Part of your partnership with Sony Ericcson was to work with them on a design competition held at the London College of Fashion Design where aspiring design students had to create a high-tech outfit for the future. How did it go?

MS: It was a really great project to be involved in. I sat down with all the designers to look at their drawings, samples to the actual process of making their designs. It’s the process itself that really interests me: How does someone make a collection from start to finish? How do you make collection-after-collection and yet still be able to offer something unique every time? The winner (Georgie Davies (2nd year BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Development) designed a cocktail dress that “lit up” (via a Bluetooth connection) if the wearer’s cell phone rang. It was brilliant. Who is your fave designer of the moment?

MS: I’ve always loved Marc Jacobs because of his versatility. He has so many different collections that appeal to a wide range of woman: From the young trendsetter to someone who wants something more classic and sophisticated. I really admire designers who are able to do this and become almost legendary. Are there any
celebrities whose style you admire?

MS: It’s funny: I am inspired by so many people and yet; I would never try to emulate their looks. Like Gwen Stefani, for example. Love her. She takes chances with her fashion choices; she’s so different and out of the box, but I could never pull off the looks like she does! Mixing patterns, shapes, textures … I also love Gwyneth Paltrow. She always looks so elegant and sophisticated. She’s beautifully put together. Sienna Miller is another one; her bohemian style is always spot-on.

Is there a fashion future for Maria? Find out on the next page … 

maria-sharapova.jpg Is Fashion Designer in your future?

MS: I’m taking small steps now to learn about the industry, to understand the business side of things, but it seems like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and adding their names to something. What people don’t seem to understand is that there is so much time and involvement in collaborating on a project. You really have to devout your full attention to make something come alive. Right now, I definitely don’t have that time, but fashion design is something I would absolutely love to pursue in the future. Can you tell us about the Maria Sharapova Foundation?

MS: This is something that is very close to my heart. My mom was pregnant with me while in Belarus when Chernobyl hit. We left for Russia (which is where I was born) just in time. Now, I work with the United Nations on Chernobyl-affected areas as many inhabitants are still affected by it, still dying every day from its affects. I think many people have forgotten about the tragedy because it happened so long ago. So, a few years ago I started a program with the UN to fund education programs and the construction of new hospitals that can care for the people affected by Chernobyl. I want to encourage people that they can move forward from that event, that you can improve your sense of wellbeing and live your life in a positive way with a little help. You always wear the most gorgeous earrings when you play. Is this a superstitious thing or just because you love the added bling?

MS: Since I was 17-years-old, I’ve always loved long earrings. So when Tiffany’s came to me a year and a half ago with the offer to wear their earrings on the court, I jumped at the chance. I wear them at the Grand Slams and am actually wearing a gorgeous pair designed by Frank Gehry for the upcoming US Open. (Laughs) It’s a good relationship.

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Check out Maria at the Tag Heuer event in Toronto