Oh, Olivia. I do not envy you here, in this Thunderdome, where two will enter… and, honestly, both will leave, but just with one slightly more besmirched than the other. Zendaya is a formidable opponent, and once she’s worn something, it’s tough to put your own spin on it. But I applaud your for trying. Here we go.

As you may recall, this Mario Dice dress in black was an homage to Coco Chanel, and Zendaya folded it into an homage to Josephine Baker (which, to me, was a delicious added middle-finger to Coco’s reported Nazi sympathies, given Baker’s work with the French resistance). One thing I love about Zendaya is her ability to add a narrative to something that already has its own.

Both versions came down the runway:

mario-dice-black-white-Collage-1499935079

There must have been some variations in the back, because I don’t see a ton in the front, other than that the bodice in white looks a lot less flattering. And… oh, what the heck, we’re here. Let’s look at Zendaya and Olivia side by side as well.

Zendaya and Olivia Culpo

I like Olivia’s more minimal shoe better, but overall, I think Zendaya is tough to top. To Olivia’s credit, some of that is because the dress itself just looks better with the pearls contrasting it; she herself doesn’t look bad, and she’s trying, but its inherent potential stuffiness comes through. It just lent itself better to Zendaya’s more stylized take on it. So I guess the conclusion is: Other mortals can go where Zendaya treads, and make a legit stab at it, but.. don’t put yourself in that situation unless it’s an unimpeachable gown. And so few are.

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[Photos: Getty, Backgrid]