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Zendaya discusses 'method dressing': Here's who else has themed their red-carpet looks

From Margot Robbie to Blake Lively... The A-list's press tour outfits are being heavily influenced by their film roles

Zendaya discusses 'method dressing': Here's who else has themed their red-carpet looks
Natalie Salmon
Fashion Digital Editor
12 April 2024
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If you hadn't noticed, Zendaya's wardrobe has been very tennis-coded recently. 

So far she has 'aced' her fashion choices for the Challengers press tour with looks such as her Wimbledon-white custom Thom Browne gown boasting racquet motifs, and Loewe heels featuring realistic tennis balls on the stems. 

The actress has been showcasing a fascinating approach to her public appearances known as "method dressing," where her wardrobe directly reflects the themes and persona of her film roles. 

In an interview with BBC’s The One Show Zendaya revealed that she has been practising “method dressing” and she’s been doing it for years. "My stylist Law and I, we've been working together since we were 14 and we kind of did kind of by accident back on Greatest Showman… like ‘method dressing’ and kind of being inspired by the film."

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US actress Zendaya poses during a photocall for the release of the movie 'Challengers' directed by Luca Guadagnino on April 8, 2024 in Rome.
Zendaya tennis wardrobe has been a fashion grand-slam

This theme continued through Zendaya’s press tours for other major films. For the "Spider-Man" series, Zendaya notably wore a web-themed gown, aligning her look with the film’s superhero narrative. During the "Dune" premiere, her outfits took on a sci-fi aesthetic, mirroring the futuristic and otherworldly vibe of the movie, enhancing the immersive experience she aims to create through fashion.

Zendaya also explained that, "Fashion has always been something that I've kind of used as an outlet or as a tool. I think ultimately, I am a more shy person. So it allows for me to kind of create this persona, this character that I get to live in for the day."

What is 'method dressing'?

Now it seems that there is actually a name for the phenomenon of theming your press tour wardrobe around your movie’s character. Method dressing is when an A-lister’s red-carpet looks are subtly inspired by their film roles. Zendaya is a prolific method dresser thanks to Law Roach but she’s not the only actress who has been “method dressing.” Margot Robbie iconically did it during her entire Barbie press tour, and her looks were so on point they have even been imortalised into a coffee table book.

Margot Robbie attends a photocall on July 13, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for Warner Bros. )© Stuart C. Wilson
Margot Robbie attended a Barbie photocall in London wearing clothes inspired by her titular character

 Amber Heard did it for Aquaman, and Blake Lively is a serial “Method dresser.” Likewise Halle Bailey press tour for The Little Mermaid was filled with plenty of mermaid-core ensembles.

We look back at a few of our favourite “method dressing moments” on the red carpet:

Halle Bailey attends the UK Premiere of "The Little Mermaid" at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on May 15, 2023 in London, England.© Getty

Halle Bailey - 'The Little Mermaid'

Halle Bailey dazzled during 'The Little Mermaid' press tour with her ocean-themed outfits. At the London premiere, the film's lead actress wore a custom pearly white gown and headpiece by Miss Sohee, elegantly reflecting the film's aquatic motif.

Zendaya - Spider-Man: No Way Home© Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

Zendaya - Spider-Man: No Way Home

Throughout the 2021 promotional tour for 'Spider-Man: No Way Home', Zendaya frequently echoed the film's themes in her attire, particularly at the Los Angeles premiere. There, she showcased a Valentino gown inspired by spiderwebs, perfectly capturing the essence of the movie.

Blake Lively attends the UK premiere of 'A Simple Favour' at BFI Southbank on September 17, 2018© Mike Marsland

Blake Lively - A Simple Favour

Blake Lively fully embraced her villainous character's style during the A Simple Favour press tour by wearing a trouser suit at nearly every event. Her commitment to her on-screen persona was most notably displayed in the pink suit she wore to the London premiere, which was a standout look.

Amber Heard attends the "Aquaman" world premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square on November 26, 2018 © Tristan Fewings

Amber Heard - Aquaman

Amber Heard channeled her role as ocean queen at the London premiere of Aquaman in 2018. She made a bold statement in a green brocade gown from Valentino's couture collection, paired with a matching swimming cap.

Zendaya attends the "Dune: Part Two" premiere at Lincoln Center on February 25 in a white cutout gown© Dimitrios Kambouris

Zendaya - Dune: Part Two

Zendaya's press tour for Dune: Part Two showcased a series of stunning, sci-fi-themed outfits, each a tribute to the already-iconic film. Collaborating with Law Roach, the actress consistently impressed with her futuristic looks. At the New York premiere, she captivated onlookers once more with an ensemble from Stéphane Rolland’s SS24 couture collection.

Florence Pugh wearing a pleated gown from Valentino's SS24 Couture collection © Getty

Florence Pugh - Dune: Part Two

Florence Pugh consistently paid homage to her Princess Irulan character, during the promo tour for Denis Villeneuve's latest masterpiece. Her regal, red-carpet ensembles captured the essence of her character and she dazzled in a halterneck gown from Valentino’s SS24 couture collection, featuring a fluid, pleated fabric and a daringly backless design.

Margot Robbie at the 81st Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California© Getty

Margot Robbie - Barbie

Margot's memorable press tour outfits truly captivated Barbie enthusiasts, showcasing the imaginative flair of the doll's wardrobe. One highlight was when Margot dazzled at the 2024 Golden Globes, paying homage to the 1977 'SuperStar Barbie' 50th anniversary doll. The nominee selected a magenta gown from Giorgio Armani Privé, and paired in with millions of dollars worth of pink and white diamonds.

Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande looked like Elphaba and Glinda at the 96th Annual Academy Awards © Getty

Ariana Grande & Cynthia Eviro - Wicked

The stars of the upcoming Wicked film are embracing 'method dressing' for their press tour, which started with their themed outfits at the Oscars. Cynthia Erivo wore a emerald-green Louis Vuitton leather gown, echoing her character Elphaba's. Meanwhile, Ariana Grande donned a bubblegum-pink Giambattista Valli, in homage to her role as Glinda.

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