Zendaya's Vintage YSL Gown Comes From Black Fashion Royalty

Zendaya's Vintage YSL Gown Comes From Black Fashion Royalty

At this week's Essence Women in Hollywood Awards, Zendaya was one of five honorees of the night (including Whoopi Goldberg and Andra Day), which was all about the "resiliency of Black women in Hollywood through the year."

As is customary now with any Zendaya fashion moment, the starlet shut the red carpet down with a breathtaking display of high glamour. But her look of the night — a vintage Yves Saint Laurent haute couture gown — was more than just a stellar style moment.

Law Roach, Zendaya's longtime stylist and image architect, wanted to pay homage to the trailblazing businesswoman Eunice Johnson. So he plucked the 1982 dress from his personal archives (which he got from auction and was owned at one point by Johnson) and put it on his client.

Johnson was best known as the co-founder of Ebony Magazine and director of the Ebony Fashion Fair, an annual global fashion tour that spotlighted the best in fashion for African-American women that ran from 1958 until 2009, shortly before her death. Her name is featured on the tag of the couture gown that was made especially for her, as she and the designer had a close and friendly relationship.

"This award means absolutely so, so much to me," Zendaya said when accepting her award. "To be acknowledged by ESSENCE and by so many people that I admire and I appreciate means the world to me. I wish that I could be in a room full of all of you and talk to you and see your faces and hug you and thank you."

Photography: Michael Rowe for Essence