The actress, singer and now fashion designer wanted to pay homage to the Black women who have paved the way for her success. With the encouragement of her creative partner and stylist, Law Roach, Zendaya decided to go for it. She told Hilfiger, “I want to make a show inspired by the women who made it possible for me to be in the position where I am now. Honestly, I just wanted to say “thank you” to them through this show. I said to Tommy, ‘If we do a show, this is what it needs to be about.’ And Tommy said, ‘Great. Go for it.’ And he actually meant it. I mean, look,” said the 22-year-old, according to Elle.
Her show included a cast of 59 black models, from 18 to 70 years old. Icons such as Beverly Johnson, Veronica Webb, Beverly Peele and Pat Cleveland participated in the legendary show. Cleveland later told Elle backstage, “Zendaya talked to me about the Battle of Versailles, about Studio 54 and the ’70s and ’80s… she really wanted somebody who had been there and lived it on the runway. In a way I think this show is really based on the story of my life.”
Cleveland brought it on the runway and the audience went wild, but Grace Jones really brought down the house when she closed the show in a metallic blazer and bodysuit.
It was a dream come true for Zendaya, who knew immediately she wanted the legend to walk the runway in her show.
We said “we want Grace Jones, she represents so much beauty and power and she needs to be here,” Zendaya explained, according to Elle. “And somehow, Tommy’s team made it happen.”
Roach told the magazine that she was thrilled that Grace Jones loved the vision and the clothes.
“I went to Grace’s fitting this morning,” Law said in the interview. “And she loved the clothes so much that we actually got a little teary. She said ‘I love everything,’ so we sent her everything. She’s the first person besides Zendaya to own the complete collection.”
The collection includes everything from disco dresses and flared jeans to high-waist, wide-leg pants and striped knitted bathing suits.
“Everybody has something different that they’re great at,” explained Zendaya, according to Elle. “We need to learn from people with experience, even as the world changes. I’m still at the beginning of my career, and to learn from Tommy about having a fashion line, that’s incredibly important to me. He’s like the best teacher for that. But it’s also very cool—and I think more rare than you’d realize—to have someone who’s genuinely interested in my point of view, in other women like me and our points of view, and saying, ‘What do you have to bring to the table that I can’t?’ That’s been the coolest experience to me—feeling like I can show him the perspective I bring to the table, and also feeling like he actually wants to know.”