Zendaya Goes for True Vintage in 1956 Balmain

Zendaya wearing archival 1956 Balmain
Courtesy of @zendaya

With celebrities like Olivia Rodrigo regularly wearing clothes older than they are—and in the pop star’s case, that could be as recent as 2001—it’s hard to know what qualifies as “vintage” these days. But there was no doubt that Zendaya really meant it when she described the red-and-green couture gown she wore to the NAACP Image Awards over the weekend as “archival.” Designed by Pierre Balmain himself, the look dates all the way back to 1956. “This is REAL vintage people,” the New York Times critic Vanessa Friedman tweeted. “Not clothes from five years ago. Respect.”

In keeping with the vintage vibe, the photo that Zendaya and Roach both shared was shot not on an iPhone, but on Zendaya’s Leica M10. Thanking Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing for letting them into the house’s archives, Zendaya’s longtime stylist Law Roach shared it with the caption, “Could there have been a more perfect dress???” It’s a historic one, too: The look embodies what came to be known as the “New French Style” when Pierre Balmain founded his eponymous label 11 years prior, rejuvenating the Paris fashion scene after WWII.

When it comes to red-carpet throwbacks, Zendaya and Roach are the indisputable pros. Twenty-twenty-one was a particularly banner year for the pair. Highlights included a 1982 silky Yves Saint Laurent couture ensemble that once belonged to Eunice Johnson, the trailblazing creator of the Ebony Fashion Fair, and a 1992 striped Valentino column dress originally worn on the runway by Linda Evangelista.