There are certain actresses who eventually become as celebrated for their style as they are their acting—think
Tilda Swinton, Halle Berry, and Nicole Kidman. These days, Zendaya is quickly joining that elite group. Since landing her breakout role on Disney Channel’s Shake It Up in 2009, Zendaya has proven herself a major triple threat as an actress, singer, and dancer. Her mastery extends to the red carpet as well—where, with the aid of stylist Law Roach, she shows off countless daring looks at every turn. Zendaya is truly a fashion chameleon, effortlessly transforming from a romantic, fairy-tale princess look to an edgy, menswear-inspired tuxedo with equal aplomb. Among her most memorable ensembles: a voluminous high-low Fausto Puglisi dress at the 2015 Met Gala, a goddess-like Vivienne Westwood gown paired with flowing locs at the 2015 Academy Awards, a perfectly summer-y Jonathan Simkhai frock to kick off the promo tour for Spiderman: Homecoming, and for the Critics’ Choice Awards in January 2020, the Tom Ford breastplate heard ‘round the world. Here, a look at some of the newly dubbed style icon’s best looks—from her years as a Disney star to a red carpet stunner.
Dune Event in Paris Photo by Kristy Sparow/Getty Images
The eggplant purple two-piece set Zendaya wore to a Dune promotional event in Paris in September 2021, didn’t just look great. It was also a major fashion coup. It was from Pieter Mulier’s first collection as the new creative director of Alaïa, and Zendaya was amongst the first to wear anything from it on the red carpet.
2021: Venice International Film Festival
Photo by Elisabetta A. Villa/Getty Images
Zendaya shut down the red carpet during the premiere of Dune at the Venice International Film Festival in a custom Balmain gown that at first looked like it may have been dripping wet jersey. Instead, the gown was actually crafted specifically for the star out of leather.
Space Jam: A New Legacy Premiere Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic Zendaya Coleman wore Moschino resort 2022 for the premiere of the Space Jam reboot—the colors recall the film’s new Tune Squad basketball uniforms. Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET
Zendaya, pictured here with Lil’ Kim, wore a dress paying homage to Beyoncé’s 2003 performance of “Crazy in Love” during this year’s BET Awards.
Photo by Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images
Zendaya made the Oscars red carpet her own in this yellow cutout Valentino dress. The star later confirmed she was indeed channeling Cher.
Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for ESSENCE
2020: Critics' Choice Awards
Gwyneth Paltrow wore this
Tom Ford breastplate on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar just a few days before Zendaya appeared on the Critics’ Choice Awards carpet in it. Though, Zendaya’s was custom-made for her.
2019: People's Choice Awards
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Wearing Christopher Esber.
Elle’s Women in Hollywood Event Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
A masterclass in layering.
Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images
Channeling Poison Ivy at the Emmys in a custom Vera Wang dress with Cartier jewelry.
Photo by Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli/ Getty Images for Fendi
Greco-Roman style receives the Zendaya treatment, in the form of tousled waves, statement earrings, and sky-high sandals.
2019: Fashion Media Awards
Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Image
A vintage velvet look punctuated by polka dots.
2019: Lancôme Idôle Fragrance Launch
Photo by Kristy Sparow/Getty Images for Lancome
2019: Giorgio Armani Privé Haute Couture Show
Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images
Making the case for dickey blouses.
Spider-Man: Far From Home Premiere Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
The Armani Privé gown Zendaya wore to the
Far From Home Los Angeles premiere was inspired by Spider-Man himself.
Spider-Man: Far From Home photo call Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Sony
The actress looked every bit the part of MJ at the Tower of London, one of the film’s locations.
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Zendaya’s white tube dress was outfitted with 3-D texture at the premiere of
Euphoria. Photo by RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
Zendaya arrives at
Jimmy Kimmel Live. Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage
Zendaya cosplayed as Cinderella with the help of her stylist Law Roach for the 2019 Met Gala—even going so far as to leave a single glass slipper on the steps of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The light-up dress was designed by Tommy Hilfiger.
GQ Men of the Year Awards Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage
Zendaya donned a jaw-dropping, structural gown by Ralph & Russo in London.
Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for New York Magazine
The actress channeled Joan of Arc in Atelier Versace. The theme this year was “
Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination.” Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images
Wearing show-stopping Giambattista Valli.
2017: British Fashion Awards
Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images
The actress fully leans into the star print trend of 2017 in Vivetta.
2017: London Evening Standard Theatre Awards
Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
Zendaya does velvet and ombré.
2017: Women of the Year Awards
Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images
For her appearance on the red carpet at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, Zendaya went for what can only be described as a bold look: a hot pink jumpsuit accented by a bow at her waist, along with black beauty elements and accessories.
2017: Louis Vuitton Event
Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images
We now know what Zendaya looks like when she’s channeling classic French girl style...immaculate. Of course, it’s all Louis Vuitton.
Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for InStyle
Zendaya won the night in a Schiaparelli gown and a Pam Grier-esque afro inspired by her aunts’ hair from the Seventies.
We love a PJ set on the red (er, blue) carpet.
Zendaya wears Vivetta and flawless curls to dinner in Los Angeles.
2017: Paris Haute Couture Week
She can’t help herself! She loves an experimental fashion moment!
2017: Ralph & Russo Party
This gown with the partially attached train screams Audrey Hepburn in
2017: Ralph & Russo Haute Couture Show
The actress made an appearance during Paris Haute Couture Week in diamonds and all-white.
Spider-Man: Homecoming Premiere
If there were any questions of Zendaya’s status as a Hollywood style icon, this draped gown custom made by Ralph & Russo has squashed them.
A window into Zendaya’s more casual tendencies: white sneakers, a white t-shirt, and an embellished jacket.
While on a European press tour for
Spider-Man: Homecoming, Zendaya leaned into Spanish chic with a pair of wide-leg slacks and a graphic sweater.
Spider-Man: Homecoming Madrid Event
Zendaya opted for summery glamour for an event at the Villa Magna Hotel in Madrid.
We really have to hand it to Zendaya—she always knows how to match a standout
hairstyle perfectly to her outfit.
2017: CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards
For a visit to Spring Studios in New York City, Zendaya wore a navy blue off-the-shoulder Michael Kors Collection gown with in white floral details.
2016: Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards
Zendaya looks every bit the flapper in a cropped bob, tea-length dress, and black ribbon worn as a choker.
Hitting her angles at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
2016: Billboard Music Awards
A daytime event in Los Angeles calls for a mini crop top in blush; the mermaid tail skirt brings the glam.
Michael Kors and a bowl cut. Enough said.
Could Zendaya’s blonde mullet and slim, tailored suit have been inspired by David Bowie’s Thin White Duke character?
The actress went for a tiered, plunging crimson gown by Marchesa for her 2016 Golden Globes appearance.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens World Premiere
The picture of chic in a dove grey turtleneck with a rhinestone overlay skirt.
2015: amfAR’s Inspiration Gala
We can always count on Zendaya to put her own spin on menswear-inspired looks—just take one look at her bermuda shorts and diamanté sandals paired with a jacket and white button-down.
2015: Rihanna’s Diamond Ball
At Rihanna’s annual benefit, Zendaya rocked long, flowing pants and a slicked-back hairstyle.
Zendaya’s height allows her to wear long, baggy shorts—which she paired here with a crop top and shrunken jacket.
A rare floral dress makes an appearance.
The actress goes avant-garde in a deconstructed, oversize sweater, sheer paneled skirt, and pointed-toe heels.
Wearing head-to-toe glitter.
Zendaya turned heads at the Costume Institute’s annual benefit in Fausto Puglisi.
Zendaya looked unbelievably chic at the 2015 Oscars, wearing Vivienne Westwood and locs. But E! host Giuliana Rancic made comments on the red carpet that night about Zendaya’s hair, prompting the actress to respond with a note posted to her social media. “Someone said something about my hair at the Oscars that left me in awe. Not because I was relishing in rave outfit reviews, but because I was hit with ignorant slurs and pure disrespect,” she said at the time. “There is already harsh criticism of African American hair in society without the help of ignorant people who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair.”
The 1970s makes a comeback at the 2015 Grammys—in the form of Zendaya rocking
a teeny pixie cut and a striped Vivienne Westwood gown.
Zendaya knows the silhouettes that work best on her: sheer, floor-grazing skirts with a slit, and a pair of pumps.
A black and white dress was made for a red lip and diamond collar.
2014: Princess Grace Awards Gala
The actress dressed accordingly for a night at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel, donning a floor-skimming ball gown by Vivienne Westwood.
2014: American Music Awards
Zendaya does her spin on a mermaid-inspired outfit: flowing curls, golden trench with matching slacks, and an aquamarine bandeau.
Teen Vogue Young Hollywood Party
Zendaya takes a leaf out of Pharrell’s book in this statement hat.
Zendaya makes a glam platform and slit maxi skirt more casual with a baseball cap, hoops, and a varsity jacket.
2013: American Music Awards
Zendaya experiments with superlong locks and a flowing asymmetrical top that accents her tall, slender figure.
2013: Kids’ Choice Awards
The actress is seen here wearing a number of trends from the mid aughts: strappy platform sandals, an embellished Peter Pan collar, and a statement gold watch.
2012: Anniversary American Music
Zendaya opted for a sweet 1950s-inspired swing skirt and voluminous bob for the American Music Awards red carpet.
At the age of 16, Zendaya had already been on the Disney television show
Shake It Up for two years, released her single “Swag It Out” and modeled in multiple ad campaigns (including one alongside fellow Disney star Selena Gomez for Sears). But as a young teen, her style sense was just beginning to blossom.
This article was originally published on
Sep. 1, 2017