Roach, who was named one of the most powerful celebrity stylists by The Hollywood Reporter and featured on Business of Fashion’s BoF 500 list, is a sartorial chameleon who adapts deftly to his clients’ needs.
Whether he’s transitioning between Celine’s haute couture sensibilities, Ariana Grande’s whimsy or Zendaya’s bold self-assured choices, he leaves his boundary-pushing fingerprints on every look.
Starting out his career as a vintage shop owner in Chicago, Roach has exploded onto the international scene as one of the most in-demand celebrity stylists working today.
He explained to The Zoe Report, “The women I work with want that fantasy, the glamour, the whimsy, but they also want undertones of intelligence and a story to the clothes. The way I approach my job is very cerebral, but I also want goosebumps. I want that to take my breath away. That’s really what I live for.”
As the very first African-American stylist to land the cover of The Hollywood Reporter’s Stars & Stylists issue, Roach has also used his platform to promote black beauty and culture. He even had a hand in helping Zendaya craft her Tommy Hilfger collection which was a celebration of black women and saw the likes of Grace Jones dance down the catwalk at its presentation.
He said, “Why don’t we see more black stylists working with A-list Hollywood actresses or being included in the conversation? That’s really important - to use my career as an example, to let people who don’t include us in that conversation or in that narrative.”
From why Zendaya is his “style soul mate” to what exactly being an image architect entails, here’s more on one of Hollywood’s biggest behind-the-scenes names.
Who is Law Roach?
Law Roach is a celebrity stylist responsible for styling the likes of Celine Dion, Zendaya, Ariana Grande, Anne Hathaway, Tiffany Haddish and more. While Roach now spends his days handling swathes of custom designer clothing and rubbing shoulders with the Hollywood elite, his rise to the top started years ago in the south side of Chicago.
He told VH1, “I just kind of fell into this industry and I started in vintage... I just started calling myself a stylist and before I knew it, I really was one.”
After setting up his curated vintage store Deliciously Vintage in 2006, he broke into the celebrity scene when Kanye West happened to wander into his shop and catapulted him into fame.
He told The Zoe Report, “One time, Kanye West came into the store and it became this big story of a little black-owned vintage store on the south side of Chicago where Kanye came in, and he spent this amount of money. Because of that story, we started to have interactions with stylists from New York, Paris, Los Angeles — from around the world, basically. They would call and say, 'Hey, I'm looking for this.' Or, 'Do you have this?' Or, 'Can you tell me what you have in this color, or this silhouette?'”
From there, he signed his very first client - an R&B singer called K. Michelle. However, he struck gold when he eventually met Spiderman: Homecoming star Zendaya.
“She was a Disney girl, and not a lot of Disney girls were respected. Nobody wanted to dress the Disney girl, so I came up with this plan of attack for her... Zendaya was my muse and creative. I spent a lot of time to build this blueprint for how I thought I could garner her acceptance in fashion,” he explained.
After Zendaya began to grab headlines for her head-turning looks, he quickly attracted the attention of another big celebrity name: Celine Dion. He explained in an interview to VH1 that, at the time, he wasn’t working with a traditional agent or agency and that Celine had actually sought him out herself.
He said, “She just googled, in her words ‘Who is the stylist of Zendaya?’ And I got a call the next day and she invited me to go on tour with her.”
It was the start of a partnership which has seen Celine Dion become one of the reigning couture queens of fashion week, weeping over Maison Valentino’s fashion shows dressed to the nines in the most adventurous looks.
What is an image architect?
Roach told VH1 that the term “image architect” is one he came up with himself, explaining his approach to styling goes beyond putting clients in fantastic outfits. He said, “I’m very cerebral about my craft. So I actually create a blueprint for the girls that I’m working with. It’s what architects [do], and instead of building houses, I’m building images.”
It was a term that he came up after he started working with a then 14 year old Zendaya.
He said, “Everybody allowed me to be creative [with Zendaya] not only with her wardrobe but with the places she should go, what she should be seeing. I did little sneaky things. I would only put her in clothes that other people had worn because I knew at that time, [magazine features on] people who had worn all the weekly styles were really popular. So, I would only put her in things that people had worn so that the designers would start to notice her and notice her name, and it actually worked out.”
Law brings the same analytical approach to his newer clients, which include Anne Hathaway. He explained, “When Anne reached out to me, I had already studied her - she’s iconic to me - there were things I knew about her. After one fitting, she was so transparent…. So the next time we had a fitting [she said], ‘Oh, I love all this. How do you just get it like that?’ And I was like, ‘I just pay attention to everything.’"
Who are Law Roach’s celebrity clients?
Roach now has a long list of celebrity clients, many of whom have undergone a rebrand under his watch. They include Zendaya, Ariana Grande, Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige, Anne Hathaway and Tiffany Haddish.
Roach says he has a very different working relationship with each of his clients. For example, he called Zendaya his “annoying little sister” and his “fashion soul mate” with whom he has a very “give and take [dynamic]”. Calling her fearless, he explained to The Zoe Report that she has an element of theatricality and said, “She can fall into these characters, and when she gets on the carpet, it’s a whole new person every time.”
Roach helped create Zendaya’s Joan of Arc moment at the Met Gala, where she stepped out dripping in a custom chainmail-esque gown which perfectly encapsulated the ball's Catholic theme. He explained, “Zendaya likes to let me take the lead, so she left it up to me to choose which house we would go to the Met with. I knew I wanted to go with a house which had the manpower to do whatever we dreamed of. Versace had asked very early on.”
Currently, Law is also helping style Ariana Grande for her Sweetener world tour and has in the past collaborated with her on 15 music videos and two additional tours, according to Page Six. With Ariana, he said that the singer has a style foundation for the pair to experiment with and said, “The ponytail is iconic. The A-line skirts are iconic. The over-the-knee boots are iconic. For me, it’s a formula to play with.”
In fact, one of his greatest fashion highlights with Ariana Grande never made it to the red carpet. Roach styled Grande for this year’s Grammys, dressing her in a cloud-like Zac Posen dress which riffed on the cloud iconography of her Sweetener album.
She wound up dropping out of the Grammys, and after Ken Ehrlich apparently claimed she “couldn’t pull something together in time”, she fired off an acerbic take down on Twitter saying that “[her] creativity & self expression was stifled by [Ehrlich]” and posted an image of herself lounging in her custom Zac Posen dress at home instead.
Roach has also helped Canadian singer Celine Dion transition from the days of her glittery Vegas residency to one of the most talked about women at fashion week. After he managed to convince Celine to wear another cloud-like gown to the Billboard Awards, she exploded onto the scene as a fashion-forward queen.
But he says his proudest moment styling Celine was when he dressed her down in street wear - more specifically, a Vetements Titanic-themed hoodie which promptly broke the Internet.
It was a nod to her past, while simultaneously setting Celine up as a versatile fashion icon and he said, “I think it’s one of the biggest fashion moments ever to take this brand [Vetements] that is known for being very street wear, to put it on the queen of sequins and rhinestones and have it be cool and not forced.”
Roach likens the role between client and stylist to a relationship, adding that things don't always click immediately: “for the most part, you have to be patient for our souls to join” he says.
He also added to VH1, “Don’t let someone like me tell you what you should wear. I think women - part of being a woman - is your prerogative to do whatever the f*** you want to do. So my advice is always just try it on and if you love it, wear it, and not give a f**k about what anybody thinks about it.”
Is Law Roach on America’s Next Top Model?
Law joined America’s Next Top Model in 2016 as a judge, alongside its new host Rita Ora, Ashley Graham and Paper Magazine’s Drew Elliott.