Her new collaboration, TommyXZendaya, premiered on the catwalk in Paris this weekend. The show was a fun, '70s-inspired disco dance party modelled by an all-black cast of industry icons. The lineup featured one of fashion’s original muses, Grace Jones, as well as Pat Cleveland, the world’s first black supermodel, who also walked the 1973 Battle of Versailles catwalk, which put both American fashion and black models on the European map.
Zendaya wanted the collection to celebrate the groundbreaking women in fashion who have opened the door of opportunity for women like her. We caught up with the superstar at the Tommy Hilfiger flagship store in Soho to chat about her love for the '70s, how she copes with fame, and her obsession with Harry Potter.
Zendaya! What was it like working with Tommy Hilfiger?
It was awesome. We have a team of people who can pretty much do anything and I was lucky enough to have my dreams realised. All the things that I asked for or wanted, they were somehow able to create. There is such an incredible team and force behind all of it and I'm just very proud of everyone for all the work they've done. I'm just a small piece of that giant team.
Tommy is the all-American designer; what does 'all-American' mean to you in 2019?
It means that, to me, there's nothing more patriotic than wanting your country to be better. That's what I think my generation is fighting for and it's so cool to watch because some of them are younger than me and smarter than me, by far. I just kind of take their lead. I definitely don't know everything and I don't have all the answers but it is really inspiring to see my generation step to the plate and demand more from their country and demand better from their country. I think that if I can be a small part of that change then I will and I think that's what it means to be that now.
What was it about the '70s that appealed to you – so much so that you made it the focus of the collection?
That sense of effortless glamour. It was before stylists and things like that existed so they were kind of just dressing themselves and all those icons, that was their true style. That's just who they were and there's something so cool to me about that. There's something so honest and real about personal style and being fashion fearless and just wearing whatever you want, however you want. I just really admire that courageousness. And also, it's just chic and cool, and everything that's cool comes back around.
Are there a few pieces in the collection that you loved making?
I love it all, they're all my babies, how do I choose? I would say anything with the zodiac print just because I love this print and I love what it turned out to be and it's so cute and so fun and I want it everywhere. I want it in my house, I want it on my bedsheets, I want it in wallpaper, I want it everywhere. I think it's very colourful but it's muted and I think that it works so well as an all-over print. It works so well as a neutral to me. If you wear enough of it, it becomes black.
How do you compare your style now to how it was, say, five years ago?
Most people have a signature thing. Like Solange – she just has this cohesive, identifiable thing. It's so cool but I don't have that. I just do all this different stuff so I don't really know when I'm not going for it because I had to go for it on red carpets. I'm like, what does Zendaya dress like when she's not fully dressed, when I'm not giving a look? Who is that? What does that look like? And we basically made clothes that I could selfishly steal for my personal life, in my phase of who I'm coming into, who I'm figuring out. What does the grown woman version of myself look like and what is that style? I think I kind of want to create a uniform, because I'm really lazy. Do you know those people that kind of wear the same thing every day and it looks really chic? I want to do that.
How do you and your stylist, Law, decide on those incredible red carpet looks?
Sometimes it's very easy. Sometimes it's more of a back and forth. At this point, Law can bring me one thing and usually I'll like it and I'll wear it. It's not that we have to do these giant fittings, of course we still do, but sometimes it just works and I'm just like okay, cool, I like it. And that's it, I figure out what shoes I'm going to wear with it, how I'm going to do my hair, makeup and leave. That's pretty much how we've been doing it this past week. It's also been really fun to create outfits with my collection because obviously we have to create all these outfits for a show, for the lookbook and now create outfits for real life. It's been really fun to pick things, mix and match and see what goes with what, and just have fun with it.
How would you spend your ideal Friday night?
I would be doing nothing at home with my dog, who is basically my child. In fact, Tommy Hilfiger made him a custom doggie jacket with the zodiac print on it. It's so cute, I just opened it last night and it has a little collar that says "TommyXZendaya" for Noon. That's such a sweet little random thing they did. So, I'd be chilling with him, maybe have my little nieces come over, bother them a little bit. They're in a weird tween/teen age where I'm kind of not cool right now. Like I'm cool but I'm not. They won't let me know that they like me. And then I just watch Harry Potter and chill. That's usually what I do.
Have you read anything recently that you'd recommend?
I'm so busy reading scripts and memorising words that I really don't have time to read other words. But I do know that I want to read Michelle Obama's book, Becoming. I know that I have to read that, my name is in it, just saying. Humble brag.
In terms of your beauty regime, what's your best tip for looking great?
The best tip for anyone that wears makeup is, don't wear that stuff to bed! I don't understand how people can because it literally hurts my face in the morning if I still have makeup on. I feel dirty and I just can't do it. Do not do that! There was an interview I watched or something with Beyoncé and she said that and I was like, yes ma'am! Whatever she says must be right.
When life gets stressful and things are going a mile a minute, are there any mental health tips or coping mechanisms that you use?
I'm trying to figure it out myself because yesterday [the day of the catwalk show] was probably one of the most stressful days of my life, I'm not even going to lie, I had so much anxiety yesterday. It's just a big moment and there's a lot going on and a lot weighing on it and it's like, you want it to go perfect and you have to think about all these opinions and what are people going to say. Are they going to like the clothes? Are they going to like the show? What about this? What about that? I don't know if you've ever been backstage at a fashion show where they have to quick change, but it's terrifying. I think talk to people when you're stressed and you're spiralling in your brain, sometimes it feels really nice to talk to people. Even if you don't know them that well, sometimes it's just nice to talk, because just saying it and getting it off your chest sometimes really helps. Just writing down how I feel about what's going on right now and also writing the good things that happen. Oh, and Harry Potter.
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