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    Law Roach talks styling Zendaya since she was 13 and his brand new TV show

    Jessica Michault

    We meet the man who redefined the red carpet

    In March of last year arguably the most powerful fashion stylist in the world announced he was retiring, sending shockwaves across red carpets around the globe. Law Roach, the man behind Zendaya’s rise from ‘Disney Kid’ to the most coveted celebrity to dress in the world, the stylist who made Celine Dion cool for a whole new generation, the image architect that transformed Anya Taylor-Joy into a modern-day silver screen siren, proclaimed on Instagram “You win…I’m out.”

    Now, a year later, Roach says that decision was the best thing he could ever have done for himself. Even if “my friends say that I’m the most unretired, person they have ever met,” the stylist admits with a laugh. And they are not wrong. Roach has been racking up win after red carpet win for Zendaya during the actor’s back-to-back press tours and premieres for the films Dune: Part Two and Challengers

    Zendaya on the Challengers press tour

    “I think for so long, as my career became bigger and bigger,  I felt I just had to continue to prove myself,” shares Roach. “I was in such high demand for such a long time. And, you know, the little kid in me from the Southside of Chicago didn’t really understand how to say no. I would overextend myself, and I’m so emotional about my work, and I’m so connected to my work that every single small thing that wasn’t right, in my opinion, was devastating to me. I was just tired of the fighting, tired of the drama, and I know there was also some inner stuff I needed to look at as well. I think the retirement was a call out for space. I just wanted to have some space and be left alone.”

    For the first six months after his social media bombshell Roach stepped back from styling altogether. He took time to reflect on how he envisioned his career evolving, where he wanted to focus his creative energy and what toxic elements in his life he needed to eliminate. However one thing was clear, his relationship with Zendaya – whom he considers family – was as strong as it ever was.

    Roach has known – and styled – the actor since she was 13 years old and famously came up with the concept of dressing her in the same looks recently worn by other celebrities and getting her press in magazines in their ‘who wore it best’ features. “Which she always won,” says Roach who underlines that for a very long time, a number of the top luxury fashion houses passed on dressing Zendaya. It’s something the stylist has never forgotten. To this day he has been steadfast in his refusal to have her wear the brands that didn’t back her – when she was still up and coming – in any of her red carpet appearances. 

    Zendaya styled by Law Roach in Thierry Mugler for Dune II

    It’s a bold decision, but remember, this is a man who has transformed the way the world expects its stars to walk the red carpet. Dressing for a movie premiere, press junket, or even an awards season, is no longer just about looking good in the hottest brands of the moment. In the hands of Roach, these public appearances have become their own months-long sartorial narrative with vestimentary connective tissue that slowly builds, event after event, into an overarching visual storyline. The stylist calls this sort of approach ‘method dressing’ and learned early on in his career that it was the only way he could work. That every red carpet look, every editorial fashion shoot or public appearance had to have its own origin story.

    “I used to be really, really nervous and anxious about doing editorials. I didn’t think that I was good at it, I couldn’t wrap my head around just putting clothes on a model and sticking them in front of a camera. I had so much anxiety about it. It was only when I took the time to create in my mind a whole back story of who this girl was – where she worked, who she dated, what she ate for dinner, who her friends were – then I was able to create a wardrobe for her,” discloses the stylist. “It’s the only way I know how to work.”

    Roach’s approach to dressing his clients has had ripple effects throughout the styling world. Margot Robbie’s promotion last summer of the Barbie movie is a clear reaction to his work, as was Halle Bailey’s wardrobe for her The Little Mermaid press tour. Even men are getting on the ‘method dressing’ bandwagon. The standout example being Ryan Gosling’s looks for both his Barbie and The Fall Guy films. 

    Roach has been styling Zendaya since she was 13

    “I think the most powerful thing that I figured out for myself this past year is that I can do whatever I want, whenever I want,” says Roach. And it looks as if what he wants to do now is give back, help the next generation of stylists coming up, and continue to dress just a handful of ‘lucky few’ for the red carpet moments of their lives. 

    Case in point: Roach generated white-hot buzz for this year’s Met debut of “mystery guest” Mona Patel. He slipped the entrepreneur and philanthropist into a form-fitting custom Iris Van Herpen couture dress. He then styled it with kinetic motion sleeves created by artist Casey Curran that magically opened and fluttered closed as Patel walked the red carpet. Arguably not since Pippa Middleton helped her sister Catherine get married to the future king of England has there been such a “who’s that girl” fashion moment.

    Next up for Roach is his new E! Network show OMG Fashun, which he co-hosts with Julia Fox. A series that documents a group of fashion-loving competitors as they take on design challenges where they upcycle everything but the kitchen skin into one-of-a-kind garments. “It’s like RuPaul’s Drag Race meets Project Runway. It’s very kitschy and fun,” shares Roach. “But I really liked the idea of working with young designers who are doing things that are more sustainable and making treasures out of someone else’s trash. I think that is a really beautiful message,” says the self-proclaimed image architect. 

    Roach is also thrilled to see some of his former assistants carving out their own paths as celebrity stylists. His protégé  Kollin Carter, was recently on The Hollywood Reporter’s Power Stylists cover, alongside his client Cardi B. “I have a few fashion children, but this one is extra special! My firstborn,” Roach has said about Carter.  “I was proud mama,” adds Roach about seeing Carter on the cover. “I have a lot of fashion children all around the world and anytime they are successful or accomplish anything big or small – I’m super proud.”

    That pride in the success of others who came up from nothing, with no connections to the fashion world, is something that the stylist wants to explore further. It’s the reason why he is in the final months of putting together a brand new online platform that will teach courses to people across the globe who dream of becoming a stylist. “It’s something that I devised that gives real insider insight into what I do and how to make it. Because my trajectory was a lot different for most people. I never had a mentor, I never worked for anybody, and I didn’t come from anyone’s lineage. So, you know, me coming in and struggling to get to the top of the industry is what I’m trying to help people circumvent basically,” explains Roach.

    Celine Dion, styled by Roach, sparked a viral moment in her Titanic hoodie

    And if all of that wasn’t enough, the stylist is also about to unveil a self-help book he has been working on that he hopes will be a tool his fans can use to empower themselves through what they wear. “It’s basically to help the reader find courage through fashion and not the other way around. Not putting on something to hide the way they feel, but actually dressing in a way to change how they feel,” shares Roach. The book’s title says it all - How to Build a Fashion Icon: Notes on Confidence from the World’s Only Image Architect - but it is also so much more. It underlines just how much Roach has been able to accomplish over the past 15 years as a stylist. 

    “I’m so blessed to have been able to do every single thing I’ve ever wanted to do.  I have lived all my dreams. So I had to find new dreams. And what I have come to realise is that at this point, my career is not about me anymore,” asserts Roach with conviction. “It’s about other people, especially those who look like me, who are trying to get to the places that I was able to reach. What I want to do is help make that journey easier for them, and help them avoid making the same mistakes I made. You know, I am here for the people.”

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