Zendaya’s Dune Press Tour Outfits Are Worth Talking About

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The actress is leaning into method dressing on the ‘Dune: Part Two’ red carpet, and it’s a big slay.

It’s Zendaya’s world and we’re all just living in it. And nowhere has that been more clear than on the red carpet. With the help of her longtime stylist Law Roach, Zendaya has become a fashion icon, often donning up-and-coming designers, and rocking silhouettes that few dare to try. But she always, always pulls them off. And the Zendaya Dune red carpet outfits we’re seeing on the press tour for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two that’s currently underway is no exception.

With two looks under her belt already, it’s clear that the key is method dressing, with Z wearing outfits that could not only be straight out of Arrakis (the fictional desert planet on which the movie is set), but also emulate the look and feel of the post-apocalyptic planet itself. And to say we love it would be the understatement of the year.

Kicking off the tour in Mexico City on February 5, Zendaya stepped out in an asymmetrical look from emerging British designer Torishéju Dumi. A custom piece, based on the “Fire on the Mountain” look from the designer’s Spring 2024 collection, the two-piece set, in greys, black, navy and a vibrant red, seemed to be a direct nod to her character Chani and the Fremen she’s proudly a part of.

Fans of the film will know that the Fremen — the people indigenous to the planet of Arrakis — have a very specific aesthetic to them, wearing Stillsuits as a sort of armour that protects them from the elements. While Zendaya isn’t walking the Dune: Part Two red carpet in a literal recreation of the frankly very heavy looking Stillsuit, Dumi’s design gives the vibe of an updated Stillsuit, with the intricate wrapping, texture and padding mirroring that of a desert-friendly suit of armour. (It’s also low-key giving Sandworm vibes?! Sandworm, but make it fashion, that is.)

Just a day later, Zendaya walked the red carpet once again, this time in a structured brown wool ensemble from Bottega Veneta. While not a direct nod to her character in the structure or texture (we have a feeling wool would do terribly in the heat of Arrakis), it’s the hue of this custom look, iterated in an deep brown, that feels like a callback to the earth and sand that the fictional planet is so well-known for.

And this type of dressing may not feel like a big deal, but it kind of is. At its core, method dressing is when actors take aspects of a film — say, the plot, scenery, or characters — and translate them onto the red carpet. As FASHION writer Natalie Michie wrote in a May 2023 article about method dressing: “Simply put, it’s sartorial storytelling at its finest.”

In many ways, this type of dressing acts as further promo for the project that actors are walking the carpet for, but as Michie notes, it also acts as a high fashion and non-cheesy way to mark distinct eras in a celebrity’s career; creating standout sartorial moments fans can easily recall.

We’ve seen this tactic before. From Elle Fanning and Angelina Jolie’s promotion for Maleficent and Jenna Ortega’s commitment to black after her role in Netflix’s Wednesday, to Halle Bailey’s frothy, sea-like confections on the 2023 press tour for The Little Mermaid. And, do we even have to mention Margot Robbie and Barbie?

But probably one of the most identifiable was 2018’s A Simple Favor press tour, when lead Blake Lively leaned into the idea of method dressing hard, not only wiping her entire Instagram feed in anticipation of the press tour, but by promoting the movie wearing a parade of tailored men’s suits — and staple of her character Emily in the film.

The trend isn’t anything new for Zendaya and former FASHION cover star Roach, too, who have utilized the way of dressing many times throughout her career; most recently on the press tour for 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home. Zendaya wore a custom Valentino gown with spiderweb embroidery and a superhero mask to the film’s premiere — to much acclaim.

Fashion has always been a way to have conversations beyond just clothes, and we love that Zendaya is using her time on the red carpet to have fun with her style and pay homage to her Dune character. Something tells us this is going to be an A+ press tour.

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