17/05/2021

THAILAND DAILY

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Japanese tennis champion Naomi Osaka is the new face of Louis Vuitton

Yet another grand title under her belt: Naomi Osaka has been named Louis Vuitton ambassador.

The 23-year-old Japanese tennis star has been tapped as the new face of the French luxury fashion brand, joining a roster that includes Emma Stone, Sophie Turner and Alicia Vikander. Osaka is set to appear in the brand’s upcoming Spring/Summer 2021 campaign, shot by creative director Nicolas Ghesquière.

“Aside from tennis, my most treasured passion is fashion; and there is no brand more iconic than Louis Vuitton,” shared Osaka in a statement. “It is such an honour to work with Nicolas – he’s a designer I admire so much and we share a mutual love of Japanese culture and style. To become global brand ambassador is truly a dream come true for me.”

[All images courtesy of Louis Vuitton]

Naomi Osaka and Louis Vuitton creative director Nicolas Ghesquière (Photo credit: Louis Vuitton)

It’s just the latest of Osaka’s fashion partnerships. She’s also the face of sportswear giant, Nike, with whom she launched an apparel collection last November. The athleisure pieces nodded to Osaka’s multicultural heritage — she was born in Japan to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother, and later raised and trained in the US.

In December, Comme des Garçons launched a limited-edition Nike Blazer made in collaboration with the tennis player. The sneakers were a part of a capsule collection celebrating all the people that have inspired designer Rei Kawakubo.

Little wonder why Osaka was on that list: in 2019, she made history as the first Asian world number one player, inheriting the title of “queen of Asia” from Chinese tennis champion Li Na. Last year, Osaka also became the highest paid female athlete in history. According to Forbes, she earned US$37.4 million (approx. THB 1,123,439,900) in 2020 alone. Fellow tennis star Serena Williams, by comparison, made US$36 million (approx. THB 1,081,386,000).

Naomi Osaka wore a mask in honor of Breonna Taylor at the 2020 US Open tennis championships in New York. (Photo credit: Frank Franklin/AP)

Besides her athletic skills and admirable sportsmanship, the three-time Grand Slam champion is known for bringing activism to the court. At the 2020 US Open, Osaka famously wore different masks honouring the victims of police brutality and racial injustice in America, in efforts to draw attention to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Before I am an athlete, I am a black woman. And as a black woman I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis,” wrote Osaka in a statement on Twitter.

(Photo credit: Louis Vuitton)

Maybe she’ll bring that message over to her partnership with Louis Vuitton, which only issued an Instagram statement with regards to the anti-racism movement. The French luxury brand, valued at US $16.47 billion as of 2020, has not publicly made any donations to the cause.

“Naomi is an exceptional woman who represents her generation and is also a role model for everyone,” said Louis Vuitton creative director Nicolas Ghesquière in a statement. “Her career and convictions are inspiring. I am in awe of Naomi, she stays true to herself and doesn’t compromise on her values.”

This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore

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