Zendaya’s fashion evolution: A look back as she wins the CFDA Fashion Icon award

Published by Megan C. Hills, CNN

Zendaya has secured her put among fashion’s elite, many thanks to a string of eye-catching pink carpet appearances and partnerships with models like Valentino and Bulgari.
With outfits from the modern “Dune” marketing tour going viral on social media, the former Disney star has tested herself a sartorial drive to be reckoned with — and in executing so has caught the interest of the Council of Trend Designers of America (CFDA).
This Wednesday, she will turn out to be the youngest ever receiver of the organization’s prestigious Style Icon award. Describing her as the pink carpet’s “reigning monarch,” the CFDA introduced the information ahead of its yearly award ceremony, stating that, “devoid of exception,” Zendaya “will make a type assertion as soon as she ways out of her car or truck.”

Signing up for the ranks of Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez, who have all obtained the honor in modern several years, the 25-yr-aged “Euphoria” star has come a very long way since her “Shake It Up” days. From a saccharine teenage wardrobe to a boundary-pushing trove of designer gowns, she transformed herself into a person of Hollywood’s most classy women of all ages.

Shaking it up

Zendaya putting on a denim jacket and gown to a 2010 screening of “Tinker Bell and the Excellent Fairy Rescue.” Credit rating: Valerie Macon/Getty Illustrations or photos

Zendaya’s big break came when she landed the part of Rocky Blue in the Disney collection “Shake It Up” — and her wardrobe was every little thing you would assume from a Disney woman. Her lovely outfits integrated loud prints (usually of the leopard or floral selection) and a penchant for layering and graphic tees. As the star recalled in an job interview with InStyle final month, a single of her earliest crimson carpet outfits wasn’t by a prestigious style dwelling — but rather was “a bunch of things that I had from Goal.”

As she moved into her teenage many years, she took steps to turning into the manner-ahead female she is these days. Modern blazers and on-trend luxurious products, like Valentino’s rockstud footwear, appeared in her wardrobe. Her outfits also took on far more of an edge as she matured, with statement bucket heels and a desire for darker coloration palettes. Having said that, she even now had time for the occasional tulle princess costume — albeit a person paired with a leather-based biker vest and sizzling pink heels.

As a teen, Zendaya's wardrobe began taking on more of an edge -- like incorporating a biker vest into this outfit for a 2012 charity event.

As a teen, Zendaya’s wardrobe commenced getting on extra of an edge — like incorporating a biker vest into this outfit for a 2012 charity function. Credit rating: Allen Berezovsky/WireImage/Getty Illustrations or photos

A pivotal turning point in Zendaya’s occupation came when she crossed paths with rising stylist and self-explained “impression architect” Regulation Roach. Their assembly led to a person of Hollywood’s most fruitful superstar-stylist relationships. As Roach stated in an job interview with personal styling web page The Zoe Report, he experienced grand designs for her from the start out — with a “blueprint” mapping out her increase to stardom.

“She was a Disney girl, and not a ton of Disney ladies ended up revered,” he is quoted as saying. “Nobody wanted to dress the Disney girl, so I came up with this approach of assault for her.”

“I would only place her in clothes that other folks had worn due to the fact I realized at that time, (magazine options on) men and women who experienced worn all the weekly styles ended up definitely preferred,” he added, a gamble which “labored out” as she received amplified media consideration and designers commenced having detect.

At the 2017 Achieved Gala, Zendaya made a statement in a Dolce & Gabbana parrot-print ballgown. Credit history: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Leaving Disneyland

The actor scored her first invitation to fashion’s largest and most exclusive evening, the Met Gala, in 2015 — her very first of a lot of. She began experimenting with grander, artistic items, this sort of as her Fausto Puglisi Achieved Gala robe, and sleeker kind-fitting outfits.

Although her aesthetic after fell firmly into the girl-subsequent-door camp, she started bringing features of streetwear into her wardrobe. She also commenced shelling out stylish tributes to Black icons of the earlier, such as Diana Ross and Aaliyah — anything she proceeds to this working day — and mastering the artwork of viral trend times.

Zendaya often channels the spirit of her movies through her outfits -- as seen with the Moschino butterfly dress she wore to a 2017 premiere of "The Greatest Showman."

Zendaya usually channels the spirit of her films by means of her outfits — as seen with the Moschino butterfly costume she wore to a 2017 premiere of “The Best Showman.” Credit score: Don Arnold/WireImage/Getty Illustrations or photos

1 of the earliest social media successes arrived at the 2017 Achieved Gala, exactly where she stepped out in a voluminous parrot-print Dolce & Gabbana costume. As she trailed up the stairs of the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute, the grandiose ballgown landed her on “ideal dressed” lists and signaled a main change in her fashion.

Other assertion-earning hits that calendar year included a flamboyant Moschino butterfly robe that correctly captured the spirit of “The Best Showman” at just one of the movie’s screenings, and the crimson and black sequined costume she wore to the premiere of “Spider-Gentleman: Homecoming,” a reference to the superhero’s legendary costume.

At the 2021 “Dune” premiere in Paris, Zendaya wore a midriff-baring Alaïa outfit. Credit score: Kristy Sparow/Getty Pictures

It was all around this time that Zendaya began carrying additional couture, operating with lesser-regarded designers and turning to sculptural parts, this sort of as the chocolate bell-shaped August Getty costume she wore to the 2018 MTV Movie & Tv Awards and the horse-silhouette cut out Vivetta robe she sported at the 2017 Vogue Awards. And even with transforming into Cinderella in a gentle-up Tommy Hilfiger robe for the 2019 Fulfilled Gala (accompanied by Roach dressed, appropriately, as her fairy godmother) it was very clear her Disney times ended up powering her.

Trend authority

By 2019, Zendaya had cemented her position as a person of the most predicted crimson-carpet arrivals. Her off-carpet appearances adopted suit. Whether she was becoming interviewed on “The Late Clearly show with Stephen Colbert” in a tangerine Carolina Herrera mini dress, or donning a grey Berluti match at a Harper’s Bazaar occasion, she made use of every general public physical appearance as a possibility to make a statement. (Michael B. Jordan, who wore the exact same go well with as her at a diverse function, commented on Instagram she experienced “arms down no contest” pulled off the glance superior than him.)
All around this time, she commenced incorporating things of menswear into her outfits, as found throughout a 2019 Armani fashion clearly show, exactly where she set her have spin on a bib-entrance tuxedo shirt. She also started flexing her understanding of fashion historical past by stepping out in rare archival parts, these kinds of as a 2000s purple and lime eco-friendly Versace gown (a variation on a prior Beyoncé phase outfit) and a voluminous blue prime once owned by Eunice Walker Johnson, a Black style icon who established up the Ebony Fashion Honest in the ’60s. Delicate references to icons this kind of as Cher and even DC supervillain Poison Ivy crammed her wardrobe.

Regulation Roach uncovered on Instagram he and Zendaya had been impressed by supervillain Poison Ivy for Zendaya’s 2019 Emmys visual appearance, with the star carrying a inexperienced Ralph & Russo robe and dyeing her dark locks purple. Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Photographs

As the pandemic brought crimson carpet occasions to a halt, Zendaya continue to discovered methods to impress, donning a tailor made Giorgio Armani costume to accept an Emmy over Zoom and landing a large-profile gig as a Bulgari brand ambassador. She also continued breaking new ground about the program of her remarkably expected “Dune” press tour. Kicking off the circuit in fashion with an on-craze soaked-glimpse robe by Balmain at the Venice Movie Festival, she afterwards channeled the sci-fi-fulfills-fantasy spirit of the movie at its London premiere, where she wore a futuristic gold breastplate by Loewe and a sculptural Rick Owens robe.

Scroll by means of the gallery higher than to see Zendaya’s evolving manner by means of the decades.

Katheleen Knopf

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