Look of the Week: Zendaya is fashion’s flower girl in pre-release Loewe

Leah Dolan, CNN

If anyone ever needed more convincing of Zendaya’s fashion influence — beyond her Vogue covers, Valentino campaigns (as the fashion house’s global ambassador), and being the youngest-ever CFDA Fashion Icon Award recipient — the actor’s latest Instagram post is just the ticket.

On Saturday, the ‘Euphoria’ star took the phrase ‘runway hot’ to a new level when she shared a photo of herself wearing a dramatic floral look by Spanish fashion brand Loewe.

The dress, which features a giant white calla lily blossom on its bodice, is due to make its catwalk debut in almost two weeks. “ICON Zendaya wears a sneak peek at Loewe SS2023,” wrote the label’s creative director Jonathan Anderson, who will be showing the collection in Paris on September 30. It’s definitely Zendaya’s dress now — more than 4.9 million people have liked her post in just 72 hours.

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The unveiling is also a masterclass in fashion PR: with 64 shows across the 10-day Paris Fashion Week programme, brands will be vying for attention. Thanks to an enticing teaser from the right starlet, Loewe is already at the forefront.

Known for his sculptural, surrealist designs in recent years – remember the Spring-Summer 2022 ‘finished’ range of sandals that featured broken eggs, nail polish bottles and rose stems instead of traditional stilettos? — The brand has long been inspired by nature. During this season’s menswear shows, Anderson collaborated with Spanish organic designer Paula Ulargui Escalona to grow chia and grass on the surfaces of sneakers, pea coats, hoodies and sweatpants. The meticulous process required the garments to be stored in a polytunnel prior to the event, where they were regularly watered until ready to be worn by the models. Loewe also offers a florist service, with a physical store in Madrid called “LOEWE FLORES” selling artistically arranged bouquets.

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Fashion’s obsession with flora has endured for centuries, in part because of the strong symbolism behind various blooms. “After women, flowers are the most divine of creations,” designer Christian Dior – known to be inspired by the gardens of his childhood home in Normandy, France – is often quoted as saying. And while florals remain an eternal trend in color palettes, prints and draperies, 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 other things.

In 2015, Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf presented an extravagant collection with embroidery, large-scale pleated flower petals and wicker fascinators inspired by Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”. In 2018, Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott transformed Kaia Gerber and Gigi Hadid into giant ribbon-wrapped bouquets, and other models were draped in dome-shaped floral arrangements and matching headpieces — a presentation that eerily echoed Florence Pugh’s last look of 2019 resembles horror film “Midsommar”.

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Anderson now reinterprets the classic reference in his own playful, understated way: his is more garment than garden, pulling back the bouquet to focus on an impossibly overgrown bloom. The result is a dramatic dress you won’t get lost in. “Plucked from a beautiful garden,” Law Roach, the actor’s stylist, wrote on Instagram, “A lily named Zendaya.”

The CNN Wire
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