Japan's Homare Sawa was so determined to look elegant at the FIFA Ballon d'Or gala she took two people to Switzerland to help her dress and spent the whole day getting ready, she said Wednesday.
The Japanese women's football captain, whose last-gasp equaliser helped Japan win the World Cup in July, is thought of as a powerful athlete at home, and is rarely seen in public with makeup on.
But Sawa, who scooped the 2011 Women's Player of the Year, grabbed attention with her stunning light blue kimono at the ceremony in Zurich.
"It was the kimono I also wore at Emperor's garden party," Sawa told reporters, recalling her attendance at Japan's most prominent social event last year.
"Staff of the Japan Football Association encouraged me to wear the kimono, because it looks sophisticated and would stand out on such an occasion.
"It was really beautiful," she said. "The two fitters helped me to dress and do my make-up from early in the morning."
The 33-year-old -- whose side are nicknamed the Nadeshiko after a delicate pink flower -- surprised many with her demure display and neatly coiffured hair at Monday's ceremony.