Bold and beautiful: Zendaya is a red-carpet fashion force at the Met Gala


Zendaya in full Cinderella cosplay, a billowing ball gown with puff sleeves by Tommy Hilfiger, at the 2019 Met Gala. Photo: The New York Times

“The designers must fight to the death to dress you,” Kelly Ripa told Zendaya, the 27-year-old actress, as they discussed her preparation for this year’s Met Gala on a recent episode of Live With Kelly And Mark.

Zendaya gave a knowing smile. Since she last attended the New York City fashion extravaganza in 2019, she has become not only a leading actress on screen (lately, in the tennis romance Challengers) but a red-carpet force whose looks can be anticipated almost as hotly as the projects they are meant to promote.

Her committed style of dressing has become “a tool of both image-making and moneymaking,” wrote Jessica Testa, a fashion reporter for The New York Times.

So it is of intense interest to red-carpet watchers that Zendaya will return to the Met Gala on Monday (May 6) for the first time in five years, this time as a co-chair. She will be styled by Law Roach, the “image architect” who has been working with her since she was 13.

“We call each other our fashion soulmates,” he told Vanessa Friedman in a recent interview.

Read more: Everything you need to know about the 2024 Met Gala, fashion's biggest night out

Zendaya’s willingness to take fashion risks has been on display at her past five Met Gala appearances, which have involved chain mail, parrots and a colour-changing Cinderella dress with a pumpkin carriage purse.

But ascending the steps has not exactly gotten easier with practice, she told Ripa: “It’s still terrifying.”

Here’s a look at Zendaya’s Met Gala history.

Zendaya in an off-the-shoulder Dolce & Gabbana ball gown with illustrations of parrots and flowers, at the 2017 Met Gala. Photo: The New York TimesZendaya in an off-the-shoulder Dolce & Gabbana ball gown with illustrations of parrots and flowers, at the 2017 Met Gala. Photo: The New York Times

2019: Camp: Notes on Fashion

For the camp-themed gala in 2019, Zendaya assumed full Cinderella cosplay in a billowing ballgown with puff sleeves by Tommy Hilfiger. It transformed from gray to a luminous blue with the wave of a wand by Roach, who dressed as her fairy godmother.

2018: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

Zendaya wore Versace’s take on armour to the 2018 Met Gala, complete with glittering silver epaulets, a spiked metal collar and a deep, single-leg split. The heavy gown was leavened by a wavy red bob with bangs.

Roach has said the inspiration for the look arrived while he was sleeping.

“I dreamt of Joan of Arc one night and called Versace and was like, ‘What if we did something to reference Joan of Arc?’” he told WWD.

“They came back with really, really great sketches.”

Zendaya wearing a Joan of Arc-inspired Versace ensemble, en route to the 2018 Met Gala. Photo: The New York TimesZendaya wearing a Joan of Arc-inspired Versace ensemble, en route to the 2018 Met Gala. Photo: The New York Times

2017: Rei Kawakubo/Comme Des Garcons: Art of the In-Between

At the 2017 gala, Zendaya wore an off-the-shoulder Dolce & Gabbana ballgown with illustrations of parrots and flowers descending its tangerine-and-maize skirt.

A Times critic described it as a “Tropicana fantasy.”

Read more: Head turners indeed: Fashion at the Met Gala can be chic – or unusual

2016: Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology

Zendaya arrived at the 2016 Met Gala in a sleek, form-fitting column of gold fabric by Michael Kors with a taut collar and a single sleeve. Her eye makeup evoked gunmetal, and her hair was in a high-gloss bowl cut.

2015: China: Through the Looking Glass

Zendaya attended her first Met Gala when she was 18, just a few years after her debut on the Disney Channel dance show Shake It Up. She wore a Fausto Puglisi dress with a black bodice and a short red skirt, adding a headband and wrist cuff with a sunburst pattern to match. – The New York Times

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fashion , trends , Zendaya , Met Gala , red carpet , trends


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