Zendaya Elevates Lingerie Dressing at the 'Challengers' Los Angeles Premiere

She's pausing her method fashion streak in custom Vera Wang.

Zendaya on the Challengers Los Angeles red carpet in a Vera Wang gown
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Zendaya arrived at the Challengers Los Angeles premiere ready to flip the script on "method dressing." Just as fans got familiar with her parade of netted skirts and tennis racket embellishments, she swerved (and served) in a new direction with lingerie-like details.

The 27-year-old star hit the Tuesday, April 16, screening wearing a gown absent of any obvious references to the film's tennis plot. Dressed as always by stylist Law Roach, Zendaya's Vera Wang gown instead combined a sheer lace corset bodice with a voluminous pink and black skirt.

Zendaya on the Challengers Los Angeles red carpet in a pink and black Vera Wang lingerie gown

Zendaya floated onto the Challengers Los Angeles red carpet in a custom Vera Wang gown and Bulgari jewelry.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Court green, country club pleating, and preppy hairbows were nowhere in sight. This time around, Zendaya seemed to say that she's dressing as the true star of the film with a dramatic gown to match. Her dress marked all sorts of firsts for Zendaya's Challengers looks: the first to have an exaggerated ballgown silhouette, the first to color-coordinate with the movie poster in shades of pink and black, and the first to incorporate risqué, lingerie-inspired detailing. (Roach has yet to share further details about the look's inspiration.)

Zendaya on the Challengers Los Angeles premiere red carpet in Vera Wang

The Vera Wang look is the first ballgown Zendaya has worn on the Challengers press tour. Otherwise, she's veered toward more streamlined, minimal silhouettes.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Getting into the details: The lacy bodice juxtaposed a balletic pink skirt that extended into an exaggerated train, with another layer of black fabric underneath. Peek-a-boo black lace also appeared in the back of the dress, contrasting her bubblegum skirt.

Once again, Zendaya accessorized with touches of Bulgari diamonds (as she has on every previous tour stop). Her feet were hidden, but it's safe to assume she wore her trusty Louboutin pumps.

Zendaya stands with her Challengers costars on the Challengers Los Angeles red carpet in custom vera wang

Instead of going for obvious tennis references, the look color-coordinated with the Challengers poster in shades of black and pink.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Zendaya signing autographs at the Challengers Los Angeles premiere in a custom vera wang gown

In the back, Zendaya's custom gown featured panes of semi-sheer lace and an exaggerated train.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Zendaya worked with her longtime glam team, makeup artist Ernesto Casillas and hair stylist Ursula Stephen, for a beauty beat to complement her statement gown. The look consisted of an airy ballerina bun secured at the crown of her head, with light pink blush and a natural-yet-glowy lip.

A close up of Zendaya on the Challengers Los Angeles red carpet with a ballerina bun and Vera Wang dress

Zendaya's beauty look for the evening premiere skewed balletic, with a wispy high bun plus light pink cheeks and lips.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The evening wasn't all about breaking rank with her streak of tennis-inspired pieces. For a late night afterparty, Zendaya changed into a brilliant green halter dress by Celia Kritharioti—set with a life-size tennis ball embellishment at the base of the plunging neckline.

Zendaya appearing on Law Roach's Instagram stories in a green halter dress

For the afterparty, Zendaya changed back into a tennis-inspired look by Athens designer Celia Kritharioti.

(Image credit: @luxurylaw)

The Challengers Los Angeles premiere is just the latest stop on the whirlwind fashion world tour Zendaya has taken this spring—but her main premiere look broke every pattern she established on previous stops.

For each screening, she and Law Roach had found inventive ways to reinvent tournament dress codes. Their formula? A mix of custom designer pieces and rare archival pulls, all with Grand Slam champion energy.

The "method dressing" marathon began in Sydney, Australia, last month, where Zendaya attended the first Challengers premiere in a custom Loewe dress. Designed by Jonathan Anderson (who's both the Challengers costume designer and the creative director of Loewe), the look cast Zendaya's gown as a glittering green tennis court. On it, a striking trompe-l'œil illustration of a player's shadow appeared to serve the ball embellishment at her bodice.

Fashion commentators thought this set the stage for a tour wardrobe painted in a tennis ball chartreuse palette. Instead, Zendaya barely wore green for the official premieres and instead chose to subvert tennis whites on successive stops. At the London premiere, her Thom Browne dress was coated in tennis racket embellishments; in Paris, she floated down the carpet in a gauzy white gown by Louis Vuitton; in Rome, she went minimalist in a Calvin Klein skirt suit.

Zendaya wears a green custom Loewe gown to the 'Challengers' Sydney premiere

Zendaya opened her Challengers press tour in Sydney wearing custom Loewe, with details that looked like a tennis ball being served on the court.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Zendaya wears a tennis racquet covered halter gown with white Louboutin pumps at the Challengers London premiere

Nearly a month later, Zendaya touched down at the London Challengers premiere in one of several looks that reinterpreted tennis whites.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

More casual photocalls have also been a chance for Roach and Zendaya to flex their sourcing muscles—and play with casual silhouettes. In Milan on April 14, Zendaya wore a Ralph Lauren tennis dress that Cindy Crawford debuted on the runway in 1991. A week earlier, in Rome, she returned to Loewe in the form of a sparkly pleated mini dress and surrealist tennis ball high heels. Vintage Vivienne Westwood and Louis Vuitton, terry cloth 16Arlington, and bedazzled Lacoste sets have also figured into her looks inspired by her on-screen tennis persona, Tashi Duncan.

Zendaya at a Challengers Milan photocall wearing a vintage Ralph Lauren tennis dress first worn by Cindy Crawford and a pair of white louboutin pumps

Zendaya borrowed a vintage Ralph Lauren dress for her Milan photocall—which was last seen on Cindy Crawford in the early '90s.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Zendaya at the Challengers premiere in Rome Italy April 2024 wearing a glittery tennis dress by Loewe and tennis ball heels

Earlier on the tour, Zendaya took her tennis influences in a high-glamour direction, wearing a sparkly Loewe mini dress with tennis ball heels.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Challengers Los Angeles premiere is one of Zendaya's final tennis fashion aces of the promo tour. She makes her lead billing debut in U.S. theaters in just over a week, on Friday, April 26.

Fans won't know exactly what the Luca Guadagnino film entails until they see it. (Early reviews hint that it's high-energy and a little spicy—befitting a lingerie-inspired dress.) Style-wise, it's hard to imagine the on-screen costumes competing with Zendaya's tour wardrobe.

Halie LeSavage
Senior News Editor (Fashion & Beauty)

Halie LeSavage is the senior fashion and beauty news editor at Marie Claire, where she assigns, edits, and writes stories for both sections. Halie is an expert on runway trends, celebrity style, emerging fashion and beauty brands, and shopping (naturally). In over seven years as a professional journalist, Halie’s reporting has ranged from fashion week coverage spanning the Copenhagen, New York, Milan, and Paris markets, to profiles on industry insiders including stylist Alison Bornstein and J.Crew womenswear creative director Olympia Gayot, to breaking news stories on noteworthy brand collaborations and beauty launches. (She can personally confirm that Bella Hadid’s Ôrebella perfume is worth the hype.) She has also written dozens of research-backed shopping guides to finding the best tote bags, ballet flats, and more. Most of all, Halie loves to explore what trends—like the rise of doll-like Mary Janes or TikTok’s 75 Hard Style Challenge—can say about culture writ large. (She justifies almost any purchase by saying it’s “for work.”) Halie has previously held writer and editor roles at Glamour, Morning Brew, and Harper’s Bazaar. Halie has been cited as a fashion and beauty expert in The Cut, CNN Underscored, and Reuters, among other outlets, and appears in newsletters like Selleb and Self-Checkout to provide shopping recommendations. In 2022, she was awarded the Hearst Spotlight Award for excellence and innovation in fashion journalism. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Harvard College. Outside of work, Halie is passionate about books, baking, and her miniature Bernedoodle, Dolly. For a behind-the-scenes look at her reporting, you can follow Halie on Instagram and TikTok.