The special meaning behind tennis star Naomi Osaka's Met Gala dress

Tennis star Naomi Osaka made a dramatic debut Monday at the Met Gala.

The 23-year-old stepped onto the red carpet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala wearing a striking look from Louis Vuitton. Osaka, who was a co-chair of fashion's biggest night of the year, walked with the luxury brand's Nicholas Ghesquiere and her older sister, retired tennis pro Mari Osaka, by her side.

Naomi Osaka attends the 2021 Met Gala,
Naomi Osaka attends the 2021 Met Gala, "Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art," on Sept. 13 in New York City. (Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

"I just really wanted to come here at least once and experience everything," the younger Osaka said.

The trio arrived together because the athlete's colorful look — Vogue called it "her boldest and most thrilling style statement yet" — was something they had all helped accomplish.

"We both really love fashion and love designing," Naomi said of the shared passion with her sibling.

She had explained to the fashion magazine ahead of the big event that her dress had a special meaning. Beginning as a digital watercolor piece by Mari, it featured Koi fish, a reference to her Japanese heritage.

(Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
(Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
(Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
(Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

"To me American means a mix of all cultures and this dress and this look represents my two backgrounds, American and Japanese," she said upon her arrival.

Osaka was born in Japan — her mother is Japanese and her father is Haitian — and moved to the United States when she was 3.

Her sister explained to Vogue that the design fit with the year's chosen theme, which was "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion."

"I believe it really celebrates who we all are and how we all play a role in the American Dream," Mari Osaka said of the dress. "It's a celebration of cultures, like America itself, a melting pot of so many special and unique elements."

One of the biggest athletes in the world, Naomi Osaka promoted Louis Vuitton in campaigns earlier this year. She also turned heads when she sported the brand at the ESPY Awards in July.