Zendaya Coleman set the fashion world abuzz with a runway show that was a master class in inclusion.
On March 2, 2019, Zendaya sprinkled some #BlackGirlMagic on Paris Fashion Week and changed the game forever. As the latest global women’s ambassador and collaborator with the Tommy Hilfiger brand, she wasted no time in making a statement with her capsule collection, Tommy x Zendaya.
Known for her bold fashion choices on the red carpet and passionate positions as an activist, Zendaya was given full creative control from concepts to designs to casting and ran with it. Together with her stylist, Law Roach, she used the runway as a platform to give a 7-minute lesson in inclusion that still has the fashion world talking.
Zendaya was inspired by the historic fashion event “Battle of Versailles” in 1973, in which French and American designers took to the runway to see who was best. Team America won in large part because the American designers chose 10 Black models to walk the runway. They too brought their #BlackGirlMagic to the runway, changing the perception of American brands while raising the visibility of Black models.
Forty-six years later, Zendaya’s runaway also featured an all-Black cast, including THE Pat Cleveland, the first Black supermodel and original participant in the “Battle of Versailles.” Zendaya also paid homage to the supermodels of color who paved the way for her by inviting icons like, Beverly Johnson, Veronica Webb, Debra Shaw and Beverly Peel, Chrystèle Saint Louis Augustin and Brandi Quinones to walk her runway was well. But, she saved the very best for last with the incomparable Grace Jones closing out the show.
The models ranged from ages 18-70, once again proving age ain’t nothing but a number and Black indeed, does not crack. But Zendaya didn’t stop there. She had sought to create a clothing line that women in her family could wear as well. So, most of her designs are available in sizes 2-16. And women of all sizes were represented on her runway as well. For the first-time ever, plus-size models walked in a Hilfiger show.
The 70’s disco music that filled the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris certainly electrified the crowd, but Zendaya’s creative vision sent the room and the fashion world soaring. Inclusion, diversity and equity have never been more en vogue.