Bettina's Take: EleVen by Venus Williams Party

Photo: Patrick McMullan

Michael Michele, Russel Simmons and Venus Williams.

If I drag myself away from the beach, on a Saturday afternoon in the Hamptons in August, it better be for something really special. So when Lara Shriftman asked me on Friday night if I was going to Venus Williams' party to celebrate the launch of her new clothing line, I had to think about it.

"Wear your tennis whites and you can hit with her," said Shriftman.

Seriously? This I had to see. I even considered ignoring my tennis elbow for a day, but I figured in the end I would have as much fun watching everyone else get trounced.

I made my way to Rita Schrager's home, packed with tennis fans and curious people. Peter Lyden, Alex Kuczynski, Alex Lebenthal, Cristina Greeven Cuomo and Dylan Lauren were there to get a glimpse of the legendary player and to talk about EleVen, her sportswear line, currently available on line at

"I've always had a passion for fashion design," said Williams,whose favorite designers include Ralph Lauren, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana.

"The feedback we're getting is that the clothes work for every body.

It's simple and classic—you should always be able to keep EleVen pieces in your closet, they won't go out of style. No day-glo!", she said, beaming.

So why EleVen?

"It's called Eleven because it's about being your best, bringing your best, being better than a ten. People always say ten is perfect, eleven's actually better. It's about not accepting any limits from yourself, from society or anyone, just going past that and doing your best and feeling good about what you do."

Unfortunately, no one was playing against Venus while I was there, but meeting her was a great experience. She is magnetic and uplifting.

I'm glad I left the beach.