Megan C. Hills, CNN
Zendaya has secured her place among the fashion elite, through a series of eye-catching red carpet appearances and partnerships with brands like Valentino and Bulgari.
With outfits from the recent ‘Dune’ promo tour going viral on social media, the former Disney star has proven to be a sartorial force to be reckoned with – and in so doing, caught the attention of the Council of Fashion. Designers of America (CFDA).
This Wednesday, she will become the youngest recipient of the organization’s prestigious Fashion Icon award. Describing her as the “reigning monarch of the red carpet,” the CFDA broke the news ahead of its annual awards ceremony, claiming that “without exception” Zendaya “makes a style statement as soon as she gets out of her car.” .
Joining the ranks of Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez, who have all received this honor in recent years, the 25-year-old “Euphoria” star has come a long way from her “Shake It Up” days. From a saccharine teenage wardrobe to a treasure trove of designer dresses that push the boundaries, she has transformed into one of Hollywood’s most stylish women.
Zendaya’s big break came when she landed the role of Rocky Blue in the Disney series “Shake It Up” – and her wardrobe was everything you would expect from a Disney girl. Her adorable outfits included loud prints (often of the leopard or floral variety) and a penchant for layering and graphic t-shirts. As the star recalled in an interview with InStyle last month, one of her first red carpet outfits wasn’t from a prestigious fashion house, but rather was “a bunch of stuff I had. of Target “.
In her early teens, she took steps to become the forward thinking woman she is today. Stylish blazers and trendy luxury items, like Valentino’s rockstud shoes, appeared in her wardrobe. Her outfits also gained momentum as she matured, with high heels and a preference for darker color palettes. However, she still had time for the occasional tulle princess dress – even if it was teamed with a leather biker vest and pink heels.
A turning point in Zendaya’s career came when she met Law Roach, an emerging stylist and self-proclaimed “image architect”. Their meeting led to one of Hollywood’s most successful celebrity-stylist relationships. As Roach explained in an interview with personal styling website The Zoe Report, he had big plans for her from the start – with a “blueprint” describing his rise to stardom.
“She was a Disney girl, and not many Disney girls were respected,” he reportedly said. “No one wanted to dress the Disney girl, so I made this plan of attack for her.”
“I would only put it in clothes that other people had worn because I knew at that time (the magazine presents) the people who had worn all the weekly styles were really popular,” he said. added, a gamble that “worked” as it received increased media attention and designers began to take note.
The actress marked her first invitation to fashion’s biggest and most exclusive party, the Met Gala, in 2015, the first in a long series. She began to experiment with more grandiose artistic pieces, such as her Fausto Puglisi Met Gala dress and more fitted outfits.
While her aesthetic once fell firmly on the girl next door camp, she began to bring elements of streetwear into her wardrobe. She also began paying stylish tributes to black icons of the past, including Diana Ross and Aaliyah – something she continues to this day – and mastering the art of viral fashion moments.
One of the first social media hits came at the 2017 Met Gala, where she stepped out in a voluminous Dolce & Gabbana parrot-print dress. As she climbed the stairs of the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute, the grandiose ball gown placed her on the “best dressed” lists and signaled a major change in her style.
Other notable hits that year included a flamboyant Moschino butterfly dress that perfectly captured the spirit of “The Greatest Showman” at one of the film’s screenings, and the red and black sequin dress she wore. at the premiere of “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” a reference to the iconic superhero costume.
It was around this time that Zendaya started wearing more tailoring, working with lesser-known designers, and turning to sculptural pieces, such as the chocolate August Getty bell-shaped dress she wore to MTVs. Movie & TV Awards 2018 and the Horse Cup. on the Vivetta dress she wore to the Fashion Awards 2017. And although she transformed into Cinderella in a bright Tommy Hilfiger dress for the 2019 Met Gala (accompanied by Roach dressed, appropriately, as her fairy godmother) , it was clear that her Disney days were behind her.
In 2019, Zendaya cemented her status as one of the most anticipated red carpet arrivals. His appearances off the mat followed suit. Whether she was interviewed on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in a tangerine Carolina Herrera minidress, or donning a gray Berluti costume at a Harper’s Bazaar party, she used every public appearance as a chance to make a statement. (Michael B. Jordan, who wore the same suit as her at another event, commented on Instagram that she had “hands down” done the look better than him.)
Around this time, she started incorporating elements of men’s clothing into her outfits, as seen on an Armani 2019 fashion show, where she put her own twist on a bib tuxedo shirt. She also began to deepen her knowledge of fashion history by showing up in rare archival pieces, such as a purple and lime green Versace dress from the 2000s (a variation of a stage outfit by Beyoncé previous) and a voluminous blue top that once belonged to Eunice Walker Johnson, a black fashion icon who created the Ebony Fashion Fair in the ’60s. Subtle references to icons such as Cher and even DC’s supervillain Poison Ivy filled her wardrobe.
As the pandemic brought red carpet events to an end, Zendaya always found ways to impress, donning a custom Giorgio Armani dress to accept an Emmy on Zoom and land a high profile gig as a brand ambassador. Bulgari. She also continued to innovate during her much anticipated “Dune” press tour. Kicking off the tour in style with a trendy wet-look Balmain dress at the Venice Film Festival, she then channeled the sci-fi-fantasy spirit of the film at its London premiere, where she wore a futuristic gold bib. by Loewe and a sculptural Rick Owens dress.
Scroll through the gallery above to see the evolution of Zendaya’s fashion over the years.
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