06 Dec 2015

Bartoli's jewelry gold rush

It's been two years since 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli retired from professional tennis, but the charismatic Frenchwoman isn't an uncommon sight at tournaments. Between commentating matches for French and English television, competing in Legends events at Grand Slams and the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SG Global and her work with her charity foundation, Bartoli hasn't strayed too far away from the game.

Lately, she's also dipping her toes into more creative ventures as she heads up her own fashion design company, Marion Bartoli Design, and this year debuted her first jewelry collection.

Designing jewelry was the logical choice for Bartoli's life after tennis - it's been her lifelong hobby and passion.

"I have always designed and created," Bartoli said. "Actually, I started to make some little pearl bracelets for my mother before I even picked up a tennis racquet!"

Bartoli is now a full time student at Central Saint Martins, a prestigious school of art and design in London which counts acclaimed designers like John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Zac Posen and Sarah Burton among its most notable alumni. Bartoli put her genius-level IQ to work to prepare for the entrance exams - she studied for one year before taking the tests.

"I was so nervous, it felt I was playing a Wimbledon final again!" Bartoli said. "But I passed successfully, so I feel comfortable doing and supervising everything."

Her first capsule collection, Marion Bartoli by MATY, has two lines comprised of 65 pieces, and she's been involved with every aspect of the creative process.

"I designed each and every single piece myself," Bartoli said. "I go through all the process from start to finish - from the original sketch, to the choice of material, to the color of the stone, to the final price I want to hit - absolutely everything."

Her Messages line features bracelets with affirmations like "love," "courage," and "strength." For Bartoli, who as a player looked for an extra boost of motivation from her lucky charms, they're more than just pretty words.

"Jewelry has always been so linked to my feelings on the court," Bartoli said. "I was always touching a lucky charm bracelet or ring or anything I felt that was giving me strength or courage or even this little extra luck sometimes!

"So what I am trying to do now is to transmit that to all women around the world. Sportspeople or not, we all need some support and I feel that what you wear is giving you that. Hopefully my jewelry will give that to those women."

What's next up for the tennis-champion-turned-designer? A collaboration with Italian sportswear brand Fila for a clothing line that's set to launch for the 2016 Spring/Summer season. Aside from tennis pieces, the collection will feature activewear and lifestyle pieces.

"So far the comments and feedback about it have been extremely good," Bartoli said. "I can't wait to have it in stores worldwide and on the tennis court when spring arrives!"


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