Zendaya Shares Her Favorite Red Carpet Looks and First-Ever Premiere Outfit From Target: "I Felt Cool"
Zendaya and Image Architect Law Roach have been finessing the star's approach to red carpet dressing for years now, often referencing iconic fashion moments throughout history. Together, and with the help of designers, they have created some fantastical works of art, so for Zendaya to name just three of her favorite outfits is a pretty big deal. But when speaking with InStyle editor-in-chief Laura Brown, she did just that, explaining specifically why she has such a strong connection to the clothes she wears:
"I think about red carpets as having their own characters and narratives. We build a little story for all the looks. It's like an extension of my acting career in a weird way — you just pop this wig on or whatever it is. Clothes sometimes are very emotional, so I get to embody these different facets — maybe they're of myself, or maybe they're alter egos. But I get to meet these different women through clothes," Zendaya said, also confirming that she practices her impressive poses in the mirror as soon as she tries on a new silhouette for the first time.
For the shoot, Zendaya wore couture from Schiaparelli, Armani Privé, Pyer Moss, Alexis Mabille, and, of course, Valentino, the fashion house behind the extraordinary gown you see above, which was also worn by Normani to the 2021 Met Gala. "I'll tell you what the coolest thing is. When [Valentino creative director] Pierpaolo [Piccioli] comes up with these beautiful silhouettes for me to wear, he has my name stitched on a little tag inside. So all my custom Valentino pieces have a little 'Zendaya' on them," she said of her ties to the label, which became an official partnership in December 2020 and has continued with campaigns and red carpet dressings ever since.
Ahead, read quotes from Zendaya's feature where she breaks down her most memorable appearances and talks about her style icons, which include Cher, Diahann Carroll, and her grandmothers.
Zendaya's First Red Carpet Look
"When I was 14 and at my first movie premiere, my outfit was a bunch of stuff that I had from Target. And I thought I was fly. I felt cool. To this day, I think that's really all that matters. Then you know you're doing the right thing," Zendaya said.
Zendaya's Favorite Red Carpet Looks
Zendaya named her Joan of Arc inspired Met Gala look, courtesy of Versace, as her favorite. She worked with Law Roach on the outfit in 2018, coordinating her knight's armor with Jimmy Choo heels and Tiffany & Co. jewelry.
"Nothing could hurt me — I was like a warrior," Zendaya said of this hot pink Tom Ford breastplate at the 2020 Critics' Choice Awards, which she styled with Christian Louboutin satin pumps and jewels from Djula and Mateo New York.
Zendaya's Moschino butterfly dress at the Australia premiere of The Greatest Showman called for little more than a pair of Stuart Weitzman sandals. She arrived to the carpet under an umbrella, sheltered from the rain and ready to spread her wings.
Zendaya's Ode to Cher
Zendaya's 2021 Oscars gown, created by Valentino, not only glowed in the dark, but was an homage to Cher's cutout look from The Sonny and Cher Show in the 1970s. "All that custom Bob Mackie that she owned, I want all of that. Cher, if you ever want to style me, Law [Roach] and I would love it," Zendaya said, deeming the star her fashion icon. In fact, Cher also wore a yellow Bob Mackie two-piece to the Oscars in 1973!
Zendaya's Partnership With Valentino
Zendaya spoke about working with Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, who dressed her in this yellow gown (also worn by Normani) for her shoot, saying, "He's been wonderful to share creative space with. He's always like, 'I want you to be who you are. What makes you feel good and confident? I want you to do that.' I appreciate that because it is Valentino, after all. It's not a small deal."