Zendaya wore custom Vera Wang to the LA ‘Challengers’ premiere: cute?

I genuinely hope that last night’s LA premiere was the final piece of the Challengers promotional tour. Not that I’m tired of Zendaya’s many sartorial adventures, but I just think these actors are exhausted. They criss-crossed around Europe last week, even turning up in Monaco for the men’s tennis tournament (they watched one of the men’s semifinals) at the Monte Carlo Country Club. The way Challengers has done promotional tie-ins with various tennis tournaments is sort of amazing too – Zendaya has turned up at more major tournaments in the past two years than several top players.

Anyway, here are some pics from the big LA premiere. Zendaya wore a custom Vera Wang ballgown which… is not my favorite look from the tour. It’s very princessy, which is fine, but it also has kind of a weird Lady Marmalade vibe which clashes with Challengers? It’s the lace on the bodice, I think.

Zendaya also changed into this Celia Kritharioti dress which fully makes her look like she’s wearing a tennis ball.

Embed from Getty Images

More photos from the premiere – Venus Williams looked great in a little grey dress. Mike Faist kept it simple with an all-black look, while Josh O’Connor has a more offbeat style.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Photos courtesy of Getty, Avalon Red.

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34 Responses to “Zendaya wore custom Vera Wang to the LA ‘Challengers’ premiere: cute?”

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  1. Lolo86lf says:

    I appreciate that Zendaya’s dress designer thought out of the box and tried to create something fresh and beautiful.

  2. Pinkosaurus says:

    Well, we finally found a dress that even Zendaya has trouble elevating. That Vera Wang is such a mishmash with no purpose for all the added elements. It looks like a small child’s drawing of a “princess dress” come to life.

    I love the neon green dress but think it would have been better if there was just a circle element at the waist instead of literally making her wear a tennis ball.

    • BeyondTheFringe says:

      Agreed about the neon dress. The tennis ball seems to cheapen it. Could have just done a knot or some other spherical embellishment in its place.

    • bettyrose says:

      Glad I wasn’t alone in that thought. But imagine the effort they had to put in to achieve a dress so awful it’s not even a good look on Zendaya? I really like the green dress, but can def see your point.

    • otaku fairy says:

      I can’t think of anyone who could make that dress a hit instead of a miss. The neon green one is cute though.

  3. North of Boston says:

    I’m glad you mentioned the part about how these actors must be exhausted, because my first thought when seeing the pictures of Zendaya was “she looks so tired” Never thought that before about her; she usually comes across as being so full of energy.

    After the Dune 2 promo and this back to back I hope she takes a break. (The fact that the top of that gown looks like lingerie/fancy sleepwear probably added to the “this woman could use a nap” impression.)

    Don’t love her dress but I like Venus’s

  4. Jais says:

    I like the green but not the lace princess one. She looks beautiful, as ever, but I don’t love the dress.

  5. Concern Fae says:

    I think these themed publicity tours are wearing themselves out. It only works if it’s fun. Barbie was fun, the tennis themed dresses were fun, sci-fi Zendaya was fun. Nobody gives a sheet if the stars of Wicked are in pink and green. There has to be an element of surprise. Lacy corsetry just reads tacky bridall to me these days. Perhaps if the dress part had been something else the cool pink swoopy fabric would have worked.

  6. bisynaptic says:

    My probably unpopular take: She’s in danger of being overexposed.

    • JP says:

      My unpopular take is that she’s already there.

    • tiglilly18 says:

      she’s been there for awhile and she still has near daily promotion until the met gala

    • Lux says:

      I love her and I guarantee she will disappear after the Met Gala.

    • Snuffles says:

      Zendaya is only out there because she has projects to promote. As soon as this promo season over her little introverted Virgo self will go back home and lay low.

      • tiglilly18 says:

        we are still weeks away, and she says she is introverted, but what she does is hop onto every event, like the Met Gala. She isn’t going to stop after this.

      • Jais says:

        She’s doing promo for the film and then she’ll do promo for the Met gala. I’m not sure how that’s hopping on every event? Pretty sure that’s just doing promo for one’s projects.

      • tiglilly18 says:

        and then there will be another project right after that. that is what over-exposure is.

      • Kokiri says:

        Gosh Tig, just say you don’t like when Black women succeed & be done with it.

        Zendaya is working. She doesn’t “hop” onto events; when she’s not working she disappears to England with her long term boyfriend. No pap strolls, no never ending tik toks.

        She a young, beautiful, successful Black woman who is working.

        Whatever else you see here, is your work.

      • tiglilly18 says:

        Z is the first to talk about how she would plan to wear looks to get the most buzz and if she missed a red carpet, she would go find photographers she knew to get pics so that her background pics looked different than others on the red carpet just in her last lookback video. Law and her brag about it all of the time.

      • Snuffles says:


        Yes, they did it to up her profile for better opportunities and it worked. I admire her greatly for that. Her and Law’s collaboration are stuff of legends.

        She’s not doing that anymore. She mainly only comes out now when she has stuff to promote. Then she goes back home throws on her sweats and minds her business with her boo thang.

  7. Nanea says:

    And again Venus was the best dressed, after that Breakthrough Award event the other day.

    I would have liked Z’s Vera Wang dress, had the corset/bodice part been solidly black.

    Z’s Kritharioti dress is missing a racket.

  8. Shawna says:

    That dress is kind of a nightmare. The black part sticking up in the middle of her cleavage is particularly offensive.

  9. ML says:

    I don’t understand the Vera Wang dress and possibly for the first time, I think these looks are wearing Zendaya instead of the other way around. She looks tired. She’s recently vocalized coming to terms with being her family’s breadwinner…I hope she’s okay.
    Venus’s grey dress is fantastic.

  10. Schrodinger's Kate says:

    That Vera Wang dress is a bad match for Zendaya’s very thin willowy body type. I think it could look good on someone with softer, rounder shoulders and a larger bust.

    The tennis ball dress, on the other hand, is a great match for Zendaya’s figure. She always carries off this style with flair… except she does look exhausted here. I would never wear this dress near a golden retriever!

  11. MsIam says:

    Cute? No? I’m disappointed because I think Vera Wang can really do evening dresses well, I adored her wedding gowns back in the day. This thing is a combo of lingerie and curtains. And hell no to that neon green thing too.

  12. QuiteContrary says:

    Venus looks incredible. But these looks are rare misses for Zendaya. And I usually love Vera Wang, too.

  13. Dee says:

    It looks like our gorgeous Zendaya got stuck up to her waist in a hole in the bed.

  14. SIde Eye says:

    Not crazy about the neon dress, but dare I say, I love the first gown? Maybe not so much the top with the lace, but when you stand back and look at it, I love the effect. The bottom half of this gown is amazing. Yes I’d change the top to get rid of the lace, but it’s still beautiful.

    • Jais says:

      Standing back, the overall effect is lovely. I just can’t with the black lace bodice. Her make-up is really romantic and matches the vibe.

    • SAMESAME says:

      I really disliked this dress until I read your comment about standing back. It actually comes together in a light, flouncy, beautiful way.
      Unfortunately, overall, I think these looks were misses mostly because Zendaya looks so worn out. I bet a month ago she’d have worked the hell out of them

    • SIde Eye says:

      Love your comments Jais and SAMESAME! I love how it looks from afar. You’re right SameSame she looks exhausted.

  15. Blithe says:

    Not cute. I love Vera Wang’s designs for the most part, but this one is a hot mess, and the, um, front and center labial folds don’t make it any better, IMO. I do sort of like the idea of the tennis ball dress — but as others have said, the actual tennis ball is a bit much.

  16. HeatherC says:

    The first dress looks to me like she was running late, overslept and wrapped a comforter around her black lace nightie and rushed to appear.

    • Aurora says:

      I think the tennis theme has been too much on the nose, when the movie plot could have been exploited from other angles. Case in point: The VW dress evoques the sexy throuple arc. But Wang has been all over the place as for the last ten years, and this gown is just another exhibit.
      When it comes to Law, I suspect he’s been going through a dry spell for some time now, as one of the reason why he’s only taking Z as regular customer. if Z is actually as exhausted as she looks (only jetlag can be a b*tch) , and just fresh of painfully accepting she’s been supporting her entire family since she was a child… She might not have been able to provide an input that perhaps has been key for their succesful partnership.