As noted by the Independent UK, ahead of the collection’s debut, Zendaya revealed she was inspired by the “Battle of Versailles” Fashion show held in 1973 at France’s Palace of Versailles. The charity event pitted American designers such as Oscar de la Renta against French designers like Yves Saint Laurent to raise money for Chateau de Versailles’ restoration. The American designers presented a collection which featured a record number of black models for the time – 11 out of 36.
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⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀#FTMRunway / @Zendaya and @GraceJonesOfficial make the finale at the @TommyHilfiger spring/summer 2019 show unforgettable ?? #TommyXZendaya #TommyHilfiger #TommyNow #Zendaya #pfw #parisfashionweek #fw19 #rtw #runway #model #fashion #style #beauty #backstage / video by: @maximsap x @fashiontomax
“The Greatest Showman” star spoke to The Associated Press about receiving a phone call from Hilfiger to discuss a collaboration.
“I got a call from Tommy Hilfiger himself, which was pretty crazy. I was not expecting that,” she said.
Hilfiger gave Zendaya full creative control of the designs, which featured Breton stripes, flared denim, leather pants and torso-hugging jumpsuits. The collection was inspired by “iconic women” of the late-1970s and early-1980s.
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“We’re paying homage to these women who changed our legacy … and allowed for me and so many others to be here,” Zendaya told WWD ahead of the show.
“I remember when my Vogue cover came out, Beverly Johnson [the first African-American model to land the cover of American Vogue] tweeted me congratulations, and I said this wouldn’t be possible without you. “This is about saying we appreciate and love you.”
Zendaya recruited a cross-generational cast of models, including Beverly Johnson, Beverly Peele, Pat Cleveland, Veronica Webb, Winnie Harlow, Halima Aden and Jourdan Dunn. Cleveland was among those to walk the original Battle of Versailles show.
To close out the celebration, 70-year-old Grace Jones danced her way down the runway to her hit song “Pull Up to the Bumper,” sporting a gold bodysuit and metallic striped blazer.
— M. (@MEENAVOGUEE) March 2, 2019
At the end of the Zendaya x Tommy Hilfiger show, all the models marched down the runway to Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family,” prompting the likes of Gigi Hadid and Tyra Banks to praise the event on social media.
“You see my face. I am in Paris. Watching so many fierce black women from all generations of modeling represent our beauty during the #TommyNow show,” Banks tweeted. “I am so proud of Mizz Designer @Zendaya!”
“The clothes are beyond epic (I’m wearing some in this pic!) and I want so many more,” she wrote in another tweet. “I’m still boppin’ to all the jams from my childhood they blasted in the show.”
Zendaya also tweeted after the historic show: “I’m still in shock and so emotional and moved by this show…I’m speechless. Thank you a million times @TommyHilfiger,” she wrote.
You see my face. I am in Paris. Watching so many fierce black women from all generations of modeling represent our beauty during the #TommyNow show! Some of the newbies are my ANTM babies!! I am so proud of Mizz Designer @Zendaya! pic.twitter.com/QUwyOP89Y1
— Tyra Banks (@tyrabanks) March 3, 2019