A Slim Aarons-inspired photoshoot had us swooning over Zendaya, John David Washington and reimagined 1950s glamour this week. The bold colors, the smizing, the effortlessly sexy ways in which these two actors work together? You can’t tear your eyes away.
This is clearly what Zendaya wanted when she came up with the idea for a W Magazine cover shoot alongside Law Roach, her longtime friend and stylist. According to W, Zendaya expressed serious interest in having a shoot that reimagined a Slim Aarons shoot but with current styles and designs. To accomplish this goal, Roach and Zendaya scouted houses with large circular driveways, fountains and large marble columns.
“The visuals matter,” Roach said. “The way change happens is when people can see wealth and grandeur in a way that they are not used to seeing it.” Not only were they looking for places that would exude the imagery they were looking for, but they wanted to reimagine what 1950s glamour would look like if it was shot through the lens of a Black photographer using Black subjects. Nadine Ijewere, who is now the first Black woman to shoot a cover for American Vogue, was the photographer on this shoot as well, expertly capturing the vision that Zendaya and Roach had in mind.
It was made apparent pretty quickly that Zendaya was running the show. When John David arrived on set, she explained, “if [I] have on a lime green scarf, [you’ll] wear a polo shirt in the same shade.”
Decked out in all designer everything from Dior to Miu Miu to Bulgari, Gucci and Chanel, Zendaya and John David gave off an easygoing vibe and continued the magnetic chemistry from their Netflix original film, Malcolm and Marie––released January 29.
And okay, we need to talk about Z’s wig in these photos because it is not only iconic but a statement to those who criticize Black hair (Editor’s note: which should be whatever we want it to be). This specific wig was inspired by a photo of C.Z. Guest, a very tan, very blonde socialite who became an icon because of an image by Slim Aarons, and a personification of status, privilege and wealth.
The color-coordinated outfits, the backdrop that would catch the attention of anyone scrolling and redefining what wealth, status and privilege looks like—not to mention the chemistry—give us literally everything we need and more.