American designers Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Halston, Stephen Burrows and Anne Klein all gathered at the Palace of Versailles in France one night in November of 1973. They were there to show against five of the best designers in the world: Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro and Marc Bohan of Christian Dior. It was a ‘fashion-off’ for lack of a better journalistic term and came at a time when Paris set the trends and, to quote renowned fashion critic Robin Givhan, the “American fashion industry quite literally copied the French designs.” “It wasn’t secretive, it wasn’t on the fly,” says Givhan. “It was done in a way that was completely condoned by the French fashion industry. American companies paid a fee for the right to copy French designers.”

While the French reportedly arrived with their elaborate sets, the Americans came with Liza Minnelli and 36 models – 10 of them black – in tow. The show became as much about American designers proving they were worthy to show in Paris as it was about race relations.

It’s not surprising then for Zendaya – a staunch supporter for race and gender equality – to want to reference this watershed moment in history. Teaming up with the iconic Tommy Hilfiger, the actress and musician has co-designed a collection, titled TommyXZendaya, to be aptly revealed during Paris Fashion Week on March 2. Paris is the latest stop in the #TommyNow travelling juggernaut, a social media-driven spectacle that has completely reinvigorated the all-American brand.

Strong and confident, the collection itself consists of structured silhouettes; high-waisted jeans, narrow waisted blazers, wide-legged pants and suits all in rich cream, navy, burgundy and a Cabernet red. It’s a sharp deviation from previous collections with Gigi Hadid, Lewis Hamilton and Hailey Beiber (nee Baldwin).

Take an exclusive look here at Zendaya and Tommy in the studio:

Runway looks will be available across an ecosystem of immediately shoppable channels in more than 70 countries, including TOMMY HILFIGER stores and tommy.com, select wholesale partners, and social media on March 3 AEST.

thoughts?