So, this happened…
Zendaya won the CFDA Fashion Icon Award!
No big deal. This just puts her in the same bracket as Beyoncé, Rihanna and Naomi. Just a couple of global fashion icons. The difference is Zendaya is only 25 years old, which makes her the youngest to ever do it. And what’s even more special about this moment, what makes it that much more unique, is that I’m the only stylist she’s ever worked with. Every single look you’ve ever seen Zendaya wear came out of our partnership. This is our win. It’s a milestone we’ve reached together.
And it’s something we’ve talked about since we started working together more than ten years ago.
Things were so different back then. At the time I was still running my store, Deliciously Vintage, and one of my clients flew me to LA so we could do some shopping together. She was a friend of Zendaya’s family, and the day I landed, this beautiful young lady came by with her father. She was just 14 at the time! It was her early Disney days of “Shake It Off,” and she needed an outfit for a red carpet event. We talked, and just made this beautiful connection. I put her in this patent leather Alexander Wang skirt and a silver Alice and Olivia blazer…you can probably find it if you Google it! We thought people would love or hate it.
And the rest is history! Nobody would dress her back then, because she wasn't well-known. So we worked with emerging and independent designers, like Peter Do. We were early to Christopher John Rogers, who just won the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year! And I used to do this thing where I'd put her in clothes other celebs had already worn, just so she could show up in those Who Wore It Better columns. She always won.
Zendaya didn’t know much about fashion back then. And I was still early in my career. But we both had dreams. She wanted to be the best. I wanted to be the best. And I think we became the best together. I think one reason for that is we’ve never had any outside noise—not from her parents, not from agents, not from publicists. Sometimes outside voices get involved and their influence ruins what you have with your client, because there are just too many chefs in the kitchen. I’ve seen it happen. It’s happened to me! But with Zendaya and I, it’s always been just ours. And that’s part of what allowed our relationship to bloom.
We’ve created so much together. She said it herself in her speech: every look she wears tells a story. I’m a storyteller. I’m a dreamer. She knows that, and she allows me the space to do that. Sometimes I dream a little too extreme and she’s good at pulling me back into the real world. That’s because we have a lot of trust in each other. Ten years of trust.
I put her in custom Vera Wang for the CFDAs. We had a couple of ideas, a couple of sketches…
She almost wore black. But that wasn’t the story we wanted to tell! We think people wear red more often than they actually do. Because in fashion, if somebody wears red, they’re trying to be seen. They’re trying to stand out. Wearing red is like sitting at the table in the middle of the room instead of in the corner. It’s a power move. It’s a statement. And this was Zendaya’s night, so it was only right for her to be in red.
Anyway, that’s all from me for now. What did you think of the CFDAs, Tribe? What did you love? SAY SOMETHING in the comments!