Naomi Osaka has been unveiled as Louis Vuitton’s new brand ambassador, with the French label announcing the partnership alongside colorful pictures from the tennis star’s latest fashion shoot.
The three-time Grand Slam winner, who is currently ranked third in the world, will appear in the label’s Spring-Summer 2021 campaign.
“Wow this is actually crazy,” the Japanese star wrote on both her Twitter and Instagram accounts. “Honored to be @LouisVuitton newest House Ambassador.
“Funny story: I first bought my mom a LV bag when I was 16 as a birthday present and it’s kinda been a tradition since. Do I call this a full circle moment? Yes.”
In a press release, Louis Vuitton described Osaka as “multi-faceted, independent and modern,” and “perfectly incarnating the Louis Vuitton woman.”
The label accompanied the announcement with campaign photos taken by artistic director of women’s collections, Nicolas Ghesquière, for his upcoming Spring-Summer 2021 collection. In them, Osaka is seen wearing a boldly colored dress while holding a bag marked with the label’s distinctive monogram.
On Instagram, Ghesquière described Osaka as “an exceptional young woman who represents her generation and is a role model for everyone.
“Her career and convictions are inspiring and I am in awe of Naomi,” he wrote. “She stays true to herself and doesn’t compromise on her values. I am looking forward to sharing new projects with Naomi in the year to come!”
During the US open, Osaka, who is of Haitian and Japanese descent, was widely praised for supporting the Black Lives Matter protests that broke out last summer. In each of her seven matches at the 2020 tournament, she wore face masks displaying the name of a different victim of alleged police or racist violence in the US.
She told reporters at the time: “I’m aware that tennis is watched all over the world, and maybe there is someone that doesn’t know Breonna Taylor’s story. Maybe they’ll like Google it or something.”
Osaka has also used fashion to proudly celebrate her Japanese identity. At New York Fashion Week, she showed her first capsule collection, designed in collaboration with Japanese label ADEAM, that featured structural draping and ruffles, fusing traditional and contemporary Japanese design elements.
The announcement comes shortly after the 23-year-old’s first appearance on the cover of American Vogue. The magazine’s January 2021 issue saw her posing in a slip dress by Louis Vuitton during an outdoor cover shoot with celebrated photographer Annie Leibovitz.
This is just the latest foray into sport for the French label, though its recent sporting partnerships have been in its menswear division. In August, creative director of Louis Vuitton men’s, Virgil Abloh, announced that he was working with skateboarder Lucien Clarke, who designed a skate shoe for the label.
The brand then revealed a collaboration with the NBA that “celebrates the cultural contribution of basketball and its diverse characters.” The resulting capsule collection comprised clothes, bags, shoes and accessories branded with the NBA’s logo.