Zendaya x Tommy Hilfger show was fronted by all black cast models (Grace Jones! Beverly Johnson! Pat Cleveland!)

It’s easy to be cynical about a celebrity fashion project with a giant clothing brand. From the astronomical budget and relentless branding to the crush of people backstage, the whole thing can feel like a heart emoji replaced an actual heart.

Enter Zendaya, an American Sweetheart for Gen Z, with her doll-perfect features and her famously take-no-sh*t attitude when it comes to speaking her mind. On Saturday night in Paris, she presented her first #TOMMYNOW collection for Tommy Hilfiger, with enough soul to make the whole audience (including Gigi Hadid, Tyra Banks, and some very excited French teenagers) stand up and dance.But it turns out, the 22-year-old star was cynical, too—at least at first.

“Tommy called me,” she said backstage in Paris before the show. “I didn’t really believe it [was him] at first. Tommy Hilfiger on the phone? And he said, ‘Look, if you do a show with me, you can have whatever you want and do whatever you want. Go nuts. If you have a vision, tell me, and we’ll execute it together.'” She laughs. “I really didn’t believe him.”After some coaxing from her creative partner and stylist Law Roach, she decided to give it a try, telling Hilfiger, “I want to make a show inspired by the women who made it possible for me to be in the position where I am now. Honestly, I just wanted to say “thank you” to them through this show. I said to Tommy, ‘If we do a show, this is what it needs to be about.’ And Tommy said, ‘Great. Go for it.’ And he actually meant it. I mean, look.”

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