Zendaya’s Knockout Oscars Look Was a Playful Nod to Cher

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By this point, we all know that Zendaya is more than capable of shutting down an awards ceremony with one of her show-stopping looks. Working alongside her stylist and close friend Law Roach, the Euphoria star has made bold and directional couture her go-to. Never afraid to opt for a daring color or an avant-garde silhouette, over the past few years she’s become one of Hollywood’s most reliable sources for fashion with a capital F on the red carpet—and beyond. 

Photo: Getty Images

But another key weapon within Zendaya’s arsenal is her eye for a perfect reference. (With his extraordinary archive of vintage fashion from across the decades, we suspect that Mr. Roach may have more than a little to do with this too.) So while her breathtaking yellow Valentino gown with its midriff-baring cut-out detail and $6 million of Bulgari jewels would have dazzled all on their own at tonight’s ceremony, it was the subtle nod the actor paid to another style legend that impressed most. And who better to reference than Cher?

Photo: Kobal/Shutterstock
Photo: Getty Images

The yellow look bore closest resemblance to a jumpsuit Cher wore on The Sonny and Cher Show in 1970, but it also carried a whisper of the delightfully glitzy Bob Mackie gown the legendary singer and actor wore to the Academy Awards in 1973. (Clearly, Cher had a particular predilection for yellow throughout the early ’70s.) With her flowing wavy hair and decadent jewels, Zendaya gave hers a slinky, youthful update that made it feel firmly 2021. Or, to put it in Internet parlance: Zendaya always understands the assignment.