Naomi Osaka has been riding an emotional roller coaster this week. During the women’s finals at the U.S. Open on Saturday, the 20-year-old Japanese tennis player beat Serena Wiliams in a dramatic match that erupted in a string of controversial penalty violations, with Wiliams calling out the umpire for sexim on the court (and rightfully so, in this writer’s opinion). At the trophy ceremony later that evening, the audience booed loudly; both Osaka and Williams cried, before embracing each other, as Williams came to her competitor’s side. It goes without saying that this probably wasn’t the win that Osaka had pictured for herself. But even so, the humble young tennis star proved to be a good sport in the truest sense of the term.
Yesterday, Osaka finally had the chance to breathe a sigh of relief and take it all in. In celebration of the historic win, she posed for official photographs with her first U.S. Open championship trophy in a very special white dress from none other than Rei Kawakudo of Comme des Garçons. In an Instagram posted, Osaka thanked the designer, along with Dover Street Market and Adrian Joffe, for the “amazing dress” and “for the support.” It’s rare for the legendary Japanese brand to make a public endorsement of this kind—Kawakubo is famously reticent about publicity, preferring to remain behind the scenes. That being said, Osaka is hardly your average tennis champion, and the gesture added a special layer to the moment.
Whether or not this will be a lasting partnership between Osaka and Kawakubo remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: Comme des Garçons gets major points for helping empower and uplift this inspiring young athlete, even with something as simple as a little white dress.