Vogue Magazine UK June 2013

When, aged six, you play a game of tennis with Steffi Graf after a chance meeting in a hotel lobby in Majorca, and don't quite make it pro yourself, surely designing a line of tennis whites is the next best thing. "I was wearing my tennis kit and Steffi asked me if I wanted to play with her," recalls Stefani Grosse, a former Calvin Klein designer who launches Monreal London this month. "Even way back then, she was already much too good for me, but remained good friends". The brand takes its moniker from the maiden name of Grosse's mother, who worked as a couture seamstress, but tennis is in her roots. "My parents met each other at their tennis club in Dusseldorf, and my father was managing director of Dunlop Sports for Europe," says the German designer, who moved to London in 2003. I started playing tennis as soon as I could hold a racket." Although she still plays, Grosse switched to fashion, studying in New York and Paris before entering a career that batted from Donna Karen to Calvin Klein, designing red-carpet dresses for Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts and HIlary Swank. "I approached this line in the same way I've always worked on fashion collections, by looking at art for shapes." Here, it's Mondrian, and the predominantly white collection of tennis dresses, undershorts and zip-up jackets is contrasted with colour-blocking dissected by graphic black lines. The shapes flatter but also provide that all-important built-in support.