Naomi Osaka is no stranger to being the best. When she won the US Open last year, at just 20 years old, the Japanese player was vaulted to the stratosphere of fame overnight. Her powerful forehand might have won her the tournament, but in the days following, it was her sense of style that won her fans in the fashion world. For one of her earliest appearances as a champion, she chose an architectural dress by Comme des Garçons. This week, Osaka is continuing her fashion world domination—and presumably her tennis domination, too—with an on-court look designed by Sacai’s Chitose Abe in partnership with Nike.
Comprised of a black bodysuit with orange detailing and a bi-layer pleated skirt made in Nike’s Dri-Fit fabric, the ensemble brings Abe’s signature hybridization to performance wear. “I instantly loved what Chitose drew down,” Osaka says. “There are so many things I love about this outfit. I love pleated skirts, and this one isn’t just a normal pleated skirt; it feels a little bit abstract in a sense, because it has a lot of different things going on. In the back, I have a ruffle piece that is also cut out, which is nice.”
Osaka says she kept an open mind about the design of her on-court look, admitting she doesn’t pay much heed to fashion don’ts. “I don’t think in don’ts,” she says. Instead, she focused on the do’s for her ensemble. She requested that her on-court look be black—“everyone knows I really love black,” she says—and that it have a pop of bright color, either orange or yellow. “I’m glad they took my suggestions,” she adds.
And why wouldn’t Sacai listen to the young champion? Osaka’s relationship with the Japanese brand goes back to the 2018 Wimbledon tournament, when she sported a dress from the label to an opening event. “They were very kind to me in lending me that dress, so I’ve always wanted to do something on court with them. When this opportunity to do something popped up, I was all for it.” The US Open and the debut of Sacai’s latest offering with Nike, which Osaka is the face of, provided the right opportunity.
“This is my first time coming back to a Grand Slam as the last year’s champion, so that’s a completely new feeling for me. I’m just really excited to see what happens,” Osaka says. “It already feels incredible.… One of the biggest things that I love about New York is the crowd; you can feel the energy while you’re playing. I think that’s something that’s unique to the city.” In addition to the crowd’s encouragement, Osaka can use her Sacai ensemble as a small source of power. “For me, Sacai feels free. I think that’s something Chitose took into consideration while designing this outfit.… This just feels very, very free.”
Originally Appeared on Vogue