Zendaya jumped into the spotlight in 2010. At a movie premiere that year, she wore a layered look on the red carpet.
At just 14 years old, Zendaya — who had just landed her role in Disney’s “Shake It Up” — appeared at the “You Again” movie premiere wearing cut-off shorts, three shirts, and a hat.
Zendaya wore a blue dress for the 2011 Teen Vogue Hollywood Party.
At this point, the teenager was still finding her style.
In 2012, the actress wore a floor-length, blush gown to the NAACP Image Awards.
Then 15, Zendaya was nominated for best performance by a youth in a TV program at the event. Her red-carpet appearance marked the beginning of Zendaya’s transition from child star to bonafide actress and style icon.
She made one of her first bold fashion choices in 2012 with this gold maxi skirt.
She chose the gold, pleated Reem Acra skirt and white button-down shirt for the Teen Vogue Hollywood Party.
The following year, Zendaya wore an all-white Donna Karan look to the red carpet.
She wore the outfit to the American Music Awards.
At a 2013 book-signing event, she played with fun prints.
Zendaya chose a bold print by Etro while promoting her book, “Between U and Me: How to Rock Your Tween Years with Style and Confidence,” in New York City.
In 2014, Zendaya showed up to the BET Awards in a memorable look.
Zendaya “rocked a blue Letterman jacket with a matching high-waisted skirt and a black bandeau top, accessorizing the sporty-cool look with sky-high heels, a baseball cap, and two long braids,” Denton wrote.
At the 2014 American Music Awards, Zendaya said, “I didn’t go the shy route today.”
She wore a metallic trench coat and pants by Georgine.
The actress debuted a pixie cut at the Grammys in 2015.
“I’ve always wanted to cut my hair and it’s one of those things that I’ve always told my fans,” she told ET on the red carpet. “I didn’t really cut my hair so don’t freak out. But I had to try it. I had to at least feel it out, you know what I’m saying? Try it on for size.”
She wore a Vivienne Westwood gown to the event.
Just days later, she chose another Vivienne Westwood gown for the Oscars and wore her hair in dreadlocks.
Just days after sporting a pixie cut at the AMAs, Zendaya wore dreadlocks to the Oscars. Giuliana Rancic, a host of E!’s “Fashion Police,” sparked controversy when she said she felt Zendaya “smells like patchouli … or weed.”
People on social media were quick to call out Rancic’s racist comments, and Zendaya defended herself on social media, calling Rancic’s comments “ignorant slurs and pure disrespect.”
Zendaya continued, “Locs are a symbol of strength and beauty, almost like a lion’s mane.”
That same year, Zendaya showed up to the Met Gala wearing a long red skirt that Vogue called “beautiful.”
In 2015, the Met Gala was themed “China: Through the Looking Glass,” and Zendaya wore this Fausto Puglisi gown. In an interview for Vogue, André Leon Talley called the look “beautiful.”
Zendaya broke all barriers and channeled her inner David Bowie for the 2016 Grammy Awards.
“Paying homage to the late great David Bowie on the biggest night in music, the young style chameleon channeled his androgynous style in her borrowed-from-the-boys suiting,” Marjon Carlos at Vogue wrote in 2016.
She turned heads with this bold butterfly look at “The Greatest Showman” premiere in 2017.
The look confirmed Zendaya isn’t afraid to think outside the box.
At the 2018 MTV Movie and TV Awards, Zendaya wore an August Getty dress with a structured skirt.
Avery Matera at Teen Vogue wrote Zendaya was “looking like an actual piece of candy: more specifically, a Hershey Kiss.” Matera added, “Odd as that reference might sound, she looked more elegant than ever.”
For the 2018 Met Gala, she blended fashion with costuming.
For the “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” theme of the night, Zendaya decided to dress up as Joan of Arc.
“Her custom metallic Versace gown features an armored neck-and-shoulder piece, sparkling chainmail, a spiked belt, and a modest train,” Julie Kosin at Harper’s Bazaar wrote at the time. “Zendaya also adopted a cropped wig in the style of The Maid of Orléans’ famous bob.”
Zendaya leaned into costuming again for the 2019 Met Gala.
For the theme “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” Zendaya dressed as Cinderella, and her gown lit up.
Zendaya channeled Old Hollywood glamor in a green Vera Wang gown with a thigh-high split at the 2019 Emmy Awards.
Insider’s Anneta Konstantinides noted at the time that the actress appeared to take inspiration from the DC Comics character Poison Ivy with her red hair and emerald green dress. Law Roach, Zendaya’s stylist, seemingly confirmed the connection as he posted pictures of Poison Ivy on his Instagram story.
By 2020, Zendaya was at the top of her fashion game. She wowed with this pink, metallic look by Tom Ford at the Critics’ Choice Awards.
“Zendaya sported a hot-pink breastplate by Tom Ford for the awards show, looking every bit the intergalactic warrior woman,” Insider’s Anneta Konstantinides wrote.
She wore another jaw-dropping look for the 2021 Academy Awards.
The bright yellow dress was custom Valentino, and she paired it with Bulgari jewelry and Jimmy Choo heels.
“Zendaya has had major fashion moments at the Oscars for years, and tonight just adds to her history,” Alyssa Bailey at Elle wrote in 2021.