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Zendaya Channels The Legendary Donyale Luna For Essence Magazine!


Zendaya for Essence Magazine

If it's one thing that I absolutely love and adore about Zendaya and her "Image Architect" wardrobe stylist LAW Roach it is their absolute reverence and respect for the Icons that came before them. So when I had recently found out that Zendaya and LAW Roach had done a photoshoot where she was photographed as the Late Iconic '60s era Supermodel Donyale Luna, I was absolutely thrilled and couldn't wait to see the final. That photoshoot in question was for the December 2020 Issue of ESSENCE Magazine, a great close to their annual run of 50th Anniversary Issues for 2020. 

Donyale Luna

If you are unfamiliar, you may be asking yourself "Who was Donyale Luna?". Well to answer that question, Donyale Luna is a pioneer within the fashion industry as she is credited to being the First Black Supermodel and making history as the first Black model to ever grace a cover of VOGUE Magazine when she covered the March 1966 Issue of British VOGUE, eight years before Beverly Johnson's groundbreaking American VOGUE Cover in 1974. Among that feat, she was also a muse to photographers such as David Bailey, Richard Avedon, and Andy Warhol gaining prominence in fashion editorials for Harper's BAZAAR. She was also the first Black model to have a mannequin molded after her by Adel Rootstein, the mannequin supplier to all luxury brands and boutiques. Although she accomplished quite a lot in her career, being the first Black Supermodel didn't come without its hardships, as she was discovered by a photographer in her hometown of Detroit Michigan at the height of the Civil Rights movement before moving to New York City to pursue her modeling career. Her numerous appearances in the fashion magazines were met with criticisms and backlash leading to her US work drying up forcing her to move to Europe for modeling work where she found much more success than she did in the United States. Her story came to a tragic end when she died at the early age of 33 in Italy, leaving behind her husband and only child, Dream Cazzaniga, who recently honored her in this wonderful op-ed for British Vogue.

Zendaya channeled Donyale Luna's iconic mesh dress image wearing a recreation of the mesh dress by designer Gigi Hunter for the first cover look. I love this piece because Gigi Hunter is a very notable dancer turned fashion designer for all of Black Hollywood since the 80's and 90's, her staple aesthetic is knitwear. Zendaya also paired this look with underwear from the intimates brand We Wear Commando. 

In the second cover photo, Zendaya is seen channeling Donyale Luna's Iconic pearl turban image wearing a custom pearl turban by the brand Mary Jane Claverol. 

In the third image, Zendaya is channeling Donyale Luna's groundbreaking British VOGUE March 1966 cover wearing the Emilio Pucci Fall 2020 RTW collaboration with Koche, with the We Dream In Colour "Vervet" earrings.

I always say that some of the best vintage items are the ones that are Unsigned with no label, so LAW Roach was very fortunate to come across this piece of vintage unsigned earrings to channel this Iconic photograph of Donyale Luna. 

This next look showed the extra creativity that LAW Roach went into recreating this feather look from Donyale Luna's 1965 Harper's BAZAAR spread wearing a coat by Pamella Roland Fall 2020 RTW Collection, paired with this feather top from the 16 Arlington Fall 2020 RTW Collection

In this image, Zendaya is channeling Donyale Luna's 1968 VOGUE photoshoot shot by Harri Peccinotti wearing Louis Vuitton Fall 2020 RTW.

This next look is a testament as to how right the timing was for this shoot because absolutely nothing was customized for this look, these items just happened to already exist at creatively put together to recreate Donyale Luna's James Gelanos look for her iconic 1965 Harper's BAZAAR photoshoot with legendary photographer Richard Avedon. Here Zendaya is seen wearing Khaite Fall 2020 RTW with Stuart Weitzman "Cindy" Pumps

In this look, Zendaya channels this iconic photograph of Donyale Luna wearing custom earrings from the brand Taylor Nikole, the fun fact about this brand is that it was only a few months old when LAW Roach commissioned earrings from the designer for Zendaya's Pyer Moss look for her In Style photoshoot back in September, now the brand is seeing a lot of success being pulled by various stylists across the board for magazines and red carpet.

In this look, Zendaya is channeling Donyale Luna's infamous Paco Rabanne look in a 1966 editorial shoot for Richard Avedon. But for this shoot, Zendaya wears a Paco Rabanne-inspired dress by the brand Fansy, with a custom version of the "Riyka" lace-up sandals by designer Aminah Abdul Jillil.  

In this photograph, Zendaya is channeling portraits that Donyale Luna took in Paris back in 1968 by French-Italian photographer Jack Garofalo wearing a Mohair coat from Miu Miu's Fall 2018 RTW Collection.

The final look was inspired by Donyale Luna's 1966 jewelry editorial shot by Charlotte March for now-defunct German-based magazine "Twen". In this image, Zendaya wore custom Lorraine West Jewelry drop earrings inspired by the original earrings that are seen in the editorial. 

Styled by LAW Roach
Hair by Larry J. Sims
Makeup by Sheika Daley for Lancome
Shot by AB + DM Studio


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