Zendaya’s evolution in the industry has been a marathon, not a sprint—and she remains in first place. From her start on the Disney Channel to being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), she’s evolved into a household name.
She’s also become a fashion icon. She was named a brand ambassador of Valentino, paid homage to legendary model Donyale Luna on the cover of Essence, wore a Valentino lewk once worn by Queen Bey to this year’s BET Awards, and is considered one of the most fashionable women of 2021—and her generation.
Zendaya is also British Vogue’s October star, wearing custom Valentino. Inside the issue, she talked about her symbiotic style relationship with celebrity stylist Law Roach, the importance of self-care and her upcoming projects.
For those unfamiliar with the backstory, in 2010, Law Roach owned a vintage store in his native Chicago when one Zendaya Coleman walked through the doors looking for a vintage piece to wear to a premiere. From there, the living, breathing definition of “name a more iconic style duo—I’ll wait,” was born.
Zendaya has spent the last four days on red carpets at the Venice Film Festival, where she stunned in a series of looks—most notably, her bespoke Balmain wet leather look gown at the premiere of her upcoming film Dune. Designed by the label’s creative director Olivier Rousteing, this look is one for the ages, sporting a skintight bodice and a slit high up one thigh. The bodice was sculpted around her bust and hers alone; the second time a red carpet look has been crafted and specifically tailored to Z’s torso. In January 2020, she wore a custom magenta Tom Ford two-piece ensemble that required a 3-D body scan to sculpt its breastplate bodice, according to W magazine.
Balmain’s Instagram account explained the significance of the crafting behind the leather look, shouting out Law’s styling and noting: “The bespoke leather gown was crafted using an exact model of the [star’s] bust, taking full advantage of the Balmain atelier and the house’s artisanal tradition. #BALMAINARMY”
But that’s not all. At the Parisian premiere of Dune, Zendaya was seen in a two-piece oxblood look that included the tiniest long-sleeved crop top imaginable, designed by Alaia and looking, as Marie Claire described it, “like it needed yards on yards of tape to stay put.” As Maiysha Kai, managing editor of The Glow Up put it, Z’s been serving an array of LEWKS throughout the European film and festival circuit.
But as many of Zendaya’s high-profile peers have pointed out, constantly being in the spotlight comes with the responsibility of taking care of one’s mental health. “Does [she] have a therapist?” the writer of Vogue’s cover story asks. “Yeah, of course I go to therapy,” she responds. “...I think it’s a beautiful thing.”
In terms of her projects, fans have been excited to hear that HBO’s Euphoria is filming its second season now that Z has wrapped on Dune and Spiderman: No Way Home. She can’t disclose any information about her Spiderman character MJ—likely having to do with co-star and rumored boyfriend Tom Holland’s tendency to leak private information about MCU films—but she was able to talk a little bit about the highly anticipated reboot of Dune, which comes out this October.
Zendaya reveals that she sought out director Denis Villeneuve and asked for the part of Chani. “Before they were even looking at people, I heard about it,” she shares. “And I was like, ‘I really want to get in the room.’ They weren’t looking in my direction. And I was like, ‘Hey, I’m here!’”
“My part is very, very small in this movie and that’s why I’m so excited to see it, to see what everyone’s been up to,” she said. “[Dune director Denis Villeneuve and I] had a little discussion about who Chani is and the strength she possesses. She’s a fighter, that’s what her people are. I only really had a few days with her, so I kind of scratched the surface but it was so much fun figuring her out. What does she walk like, what does she talk like? This is her planet, so how does she navigate this world? It was so fun.”
Though we don’t have an official release for season 2 of Euphoria, her two latest films will be released before the end of the year.
Zendaya’s October 2021 British Vogue article is available online now.