Leah Dolan, CNN
If ever anyone needed more convincing of Zendaya’s fashion influence — beyond her Vogue covers, Valentino campaigns (as a global ambassador for the fashion house) and title as the youngest ever recipient of the CFDA’s Fashion Icon Award — look no further than the actor’s latest Instagram post.
On Saturday, the “Euphoria” star took the phrase “hot off the runway” to a new level when she shared a photo in which she’s wearing a dramatic floral look from the Spanish fashion brand Loewe.
The gown, which features an enormous white calla lily bloom made from enamel brass on its bodice, isn’t set to make its catwalk debut for almost another two weeks. “ICON Zendaya wearing a little preview of Loewe SS2023,” wrote the label’s creative director Jonathan Anderson, who is scheduled to show the collection in Paris on September 30. Clearly, it is Zendaya’s dress now — more than 4.9 million people have liked her post in just 72 hours.
The reveal is a masterclass in fashion PR, too: With 64 shows packed into the 10-day Paris Fashion Week schedule, brands will be competing for attention. Thanks to a tantalizing teaser from the right starlet, Loewe is already at the fore.
Known in recent years for its sculptural, surrealist designs — remember the “ready-made” sandal series from Spring-Summer 2022 that featured cracked eggs, nail polish bottles and rose stems in place of traditional stiletto heels? — the brand has long been inspired by nature. During this season’s menswear shows, Anderson grew chia and grass on the surface of sneakers, pea coats, hoodies and tracksuit bottoms in a collaboration with Spanish bio-designer Paula Ulargui Escalona. The painstaking process required the garments to be kept in a poly-tunnel prior to the event, where they were watered regularly until worn by the models. Loewe also offers a florist service, with a physical store in Madrid called “LOEWE FLORES” selling artfully arranged bouquets.
Fashion’s obsession with flora has endured for centuries, in part because of the potent symbolism behind different blossoms. “After women, flowers are the most divine creations,” the designer Christian Dior — who was famously inspired by the gardens of his childhood home in Normandy, France — is often quoted as saying. And while florals remain a perennial trend in color palettes, prints and drapery, a more sculptural approach has often found its way into the designs of Moschino, Schiaparelli and Alexander McQueen, as well as couture collections from Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier and Dior, among others.
Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf showed an extravagant collection in 2015 featuring embroidery, large-scale pleated petals and wicker fascinators inspired by Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers.” In 2018, Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott turned Kaia Gerber and Gigi Hadid into giant ribbon-wrapped bunches of flowers, and other models were enveloped in dome-shaped floral arrangements and matching headpieces — a presentation uncannily similar to Florence Pugh’s final look in the 2019 horror movie “Midsommar.”
Anderson is now reimagining the classical reference in his own playful, understated way: His is more garment than garden, stripping back the bouquet to focus on one, impossibly overgrown bloom. The result is a dramatic gown you won’t get lost in. “Plucked from a beautiful garden,” wrote Law Roach, the actor’s stylist, on Instagram, “A lily named Zendaya.”
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Leah Dolan, CNN