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poppyclayton
18th April 2024

Zendaya and the art of method dressing

Are Zendaya and stylist Law Roach the fashion worlds answer to Lennon and McCartney?
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Zendaya and the art of method dressing
Collage via Poppy Clayton @The Mancunion

The Challengers press tour is well and truly underway, and the world was waiting with baited breath for Zendaya’s tennis-themed looks for the global tour. Since The Greatest Showman premiere back in 2017, Zendaya and stylist Law Roach have created some memorable looks, and her recent outfits for Luca Guadagnino’s latest film have cemented her as the queen of method dressing.

In 2024 alone, Zendaya has achieved the rare feat of gracing British Vogue and American Vogue for the May cover, and is this year’s co-chair of the Met Gala alongside Jennifer Lopez, Chris Hemsworth, and Bad Bunny. Zendaya and Law Roach have been a styling team since her Disney days, and her style evolution has been one of the most iconic transformations to grace the silver screen.

The Greatest Showman

For the 2017 Sydney premiere of The Greatest Showman, Zendaya donned a Moschino gown in the shape of a butterfly wing. In a recent Life in Looks with Vogue, Z said “With Law and I, we always find inspiration from films that I’m doing. A butterfly isn’t the theme per se, but it is this idea of being ‘costumey’. You’re the greatest showman, everything is drama, and that’s what this dress was to me.”

@buzzfeed

Link in bio for full interview with Zendaya! ❤️ #Euphoria #TheGreatestShowman

♬ original sound – BuzzFeed

Spiderman

For the Spiderman trilogy, Zendaya and Roach pulled multiple spider-themed gowns as well as plot-focused ones, such as the Roberto Cavalli metal ‘spine’ dress worn for the Spiderman: No Way Home junket inspired by the villain Doc Ock. The A/W 2000 dress was relatively unassuming from the front, but Z truly wowed the cameras when she hit the over-the-shoulder pose.

@_dudareb

#Zendaya wearing #RobertoCavalli FW00

♬ Lookmeinmyeyes – Iloveslowedmusic🧸

She also wore a literal spiders-web dress by Valentino, paired with a black lace mask that can only be described as what Spiderman himself would wear on the red carpet. Arguably, this was Z’s most on-the-nose attempt at method-dressing, but the best was yet to come…

@ironedsocks

Zendaya with the Spider-Man symbiote mask 👀 #zendaya #spiderman #farfromhome #tomholland #drstrange #mj #marvel

♬ Sahara – Hensonn

Dune

By the end of the Spiderman era, Zendaya was well and truly the one to look out for at premieres. At the Dune festival premiere in 2021, she wore a Balmain ‘wet-look’ gown which fit like a glove, and completely stole the show. In Life in Looks, she said how “years before there was a bodice that had gone down the runway, and I thought that would be amazing if we could make it a dress. It feels very Dune, it’s the landscape and colour palette of Dune. It looks wet but it’s dry, there’s something that reminded me of the still suit a little bit just in its construction, it felt Dune.” 

@ctwlk

#Zendaya stuns in ‘wet’ Balmain dress at Venice Film Festival

♬ original sound – vanessa

Perhaps the most jaw-dropping look Zendaya has worn so far was to the Dune: Part Two world premiere in 2023, where she sported the infamous Thierry Mugler robot suit from F/W 1995 collection. The suit completely stole the show, but Z later remarked to Vogue how “after wearing it for ten minutes, or less than that, I got really lightheaded. The metal conducts and holds onto heat very quickly and traps heat in. But I put it on, I went out there, and I did it.” And put it on she did, instantly becoming the most memorable look of her career so far. Read the film section’s review of Dune: Part Two here.

@brutamerica

Zendaya made quite an entrance at the world premiere of “Dune: Part Two” in a silver robot suit.

♬ original sound – Brut.

Challengers

Recently, Zendaya and Law Roach have been pulling out all the stops for her latest film Challengers, where she plays Tashi, a star tennis player turned coach to her husband played by Mike Faist. So far, she has sported plenty of archival Louis Vuitton such as a signature tennis-esque green. This writer’s personal favourite (so far) is the green checkerboard coat from the Louis Vuitton spring/summer 2012 ready-to-wear collection, encapsulating the tennis theme with the green and white.

@ideservecouture

Today is a win! Why? Because Zendaya appeared in Louis Vuitton spring 2013 for the press conference of “CHALLENGERS”! 💚🤍 #zendaya #challengers #louisvuitton

♬ original sound – ideservecouture

Law Roach pulled another archival Louis Vuitton piece for the Paris press conference, this stunning green two piece is from the Spring/Summer 1999 collection.

@itsvickhypster

Challengers press conference in Paris with Lucas Guadagnino, Zendaya Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor 🎾 #zendaya #lucasguadagnino #mikefaist #challengers #joshoconnor #joshoconnoredit #paris #france #tennis #pressconference

♬ Lady Killers II – G-EAZY

For the Paris premiere, Z wore a custom Louis Vuitton gown paired with Bulgari jewelry and her fresh blonde locks free and flowing. If only all tennis whites were this glamorous.

https://www.tiktok.com/@clotsyy/video/7354856778087025953?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc

For the Australian premiere back in March, Z donned a shimmering green custom Loewe gown with a silhouette of a tennis player on the front: some may say too on the nose, we say its just right for Zendaya.

@graziausa

Zendaya is setting a new tone on the red carpet — and it’s blonde! Styled to perfection by @Luxury Law , Zendaya wore a custom tennis court inspired @LOEWE gown for the “Challengers” premiere 🎾 ___ #zendaya #challengersmovie #loewe #redcarpet #lawroach #fashiontok #fashiontiktok #grazia #graziausa Credit: @Warner Bros. Movies

♬ original sound – GRAZIA USA

In another custom Loewe look for a photo call in Rome, her shoes had literal tennis balls in the heel to match her sparkling Loewe tennis dress: does it get more on theme than that?

@voguefrance

Jeu, set et match : #JonathanAnderson a imaginé une tenue #Loewe sur-mesure pour #Zendaya lors de l’avant-première du film Challengers, de Luca Guadagnino à Rome. Un hommage mode au vestiaire tennis et des stilettos vertigineux perforant une balle, pour l’actrice qui incarne une star de la discipline à la vie amoureuse tumultueuse où ambition professionnelle et intime se mêlent. #cinematok #voguefrance

♬ son original – Vogue France

At the London premiere, Zendaya donned a Thom Browne gown in the style of tennis white and paired it with a very on-trend white hair bow… did we mention that the dress was covered in little tennis racquets? This is something only Zendaya could pull off.

@voguegermany

#zendaya in #thombrowne at the #challengers premiere in #london tonight. #voguegermany #zendayacoleman #zendayaedit #zendayaedits #challengersmovie #redcarpetlooks

♬ original sound – user

So, it’s safe to say that in terms of being the master of method dressing, Zendaya’s competition is… well… Zendaya. No one does it quite like her, and we can’t wait to see all the remaining archival and custom looks she pulls for the Challengers press junket and beyond.


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