Serena Williams popped up in Plano this weekend and aced the launch of her clothing collection, Serena Great.
North Texas was a stop on the superstar's so-called "Pop-Up Road Trip" that started December in Miami. On Dec. 8, it was North Texas' turn at Neighborhood Goods in Legacy West.
"I like to pop up in different areas because we're strictly e-commerce and I think it's really important for customers to see our product and see how high-quality it is," she said. "Also one thing that I love is trying to get to cities. We wanted to try to get to a city that I don't go too often but I have such amazing fans here and so it was really important for me to ... try to show my fans love here."
And that includes a signature city T-shirt ($60) commemorating the line's debut: Miami, New York and L.A. all have one in the collection. Her favorite piece in the line?
"Honestly, the Dallas shirt. I'm obsessed with it. ... Every time we go to a different city, we create a special shirt," she said. "We just launched it, but I've been wearing it and I'm just like so mad that the Florida one doesn't have the exact same design. ... It's just better in Texas I guess."
Fans came from near and far to see the superstar.
"It's amazing," said Tammi Cole, 51, who wore a black tutu in homage to one of Serena's on-court sartorial choices. Cole, who drove down from McKinney, said she had plans to go to the U.S. Open a couple of years ago, but she tore her ACL and couldn't make it. "It's great to see her. It's one thing off my bucket list."
And for some, the night was made even more special. Model Ashley Graham and Williams recorded Graham's podcast, Pretty Big Deal, live in front of the crowd, some capturing every moment via cellphone.
That included Ashley Smith and Devon Wooley, both from Euless.
"Ashley Graham was a great surprise," said Smith.
Wooley interjected: "And she was wearing her clothes."
Smith, Wooley and Jeb Maddux, who drove from downtown Dallas, were all in a line to just peruse the shop (next to Reese Witherspoon's Draper James shop) and possibly get a photo with Williams.
"I'm gay, considered overweight for my profession and to hear someone so successful talk about that, it's inspiring," Maddux said. "She's relatable to everyone, which is what's so inspiring. I've always been a fan."
The clothes are inspiring, too. Jehan Lazar of Carrollton turned it into a shopping experience: She bought a jacket, the Dallas T-shirt and some things from some of the other shops housed at Neighborhood Goods.
Lazar, who said she already has a tennis ball signed by Williams, says that though she was surprised by the star's foray into high fashion, she welcomed it. She said it was "so cool" and noted that it was "athleisure but performance wear."
Serena Great is also size-inclusive, "a real collection," Williams said. She told Graham that instead of "plus" that they were using "great."
That's intentional, as are the price points. Everything in the Serena Great collection is less than $200.
"We want to be affordable high-end fashion," Williams said. "High-end fashion shouldn't break the bank, you know. Kinda like food quality. Food shouldn't hurt you, you know, you shouldn't not be able to afford quality foods."
And Williams had great things to say about her host store, which just opened in mid-November at Legacy West.
"Neighborhood Goods is a great company," she said. "They're changing the look of brick and mortar stores and it just needs a different face. And Neighborhood Goods is doing it."
The Serena shop will be at at the department store through Dec. 30, according to store personnel.