Law Roach—fashion whisperer to Zendaya, self-described 'image architect', and the recent and inaugural recipient of the CFDA’s Stylist Award—is not a person to use the word 'icon' lightly. So when he calls Lindsay Lohan, his newest client, 'an icon' —you know he means business.
'Lindsay is an icon,' he says. 'It’s undeniable.'
He recalls back when she was playing Elizabeth Taylor (an icon of Lohan’s) in the ill-fated TV movie Liz & Dick, and posed in a series of publicity stills in a black bouffant and a ruby necklace, draped in white fur. 'She was always just beautiful and cool.' The 2004 runaway hit Mean Girls, too, 'is iconic', Roach says—in fact, he styled Ariana Grande’s 2018 music video 'thank u, next' in homage to the film. When the Ana de Armas-as-Marilyn vehicle Blonde was released earlier this year, I had to do some googling to make sure that the 2008 issue of New York Magazine, in which Lohan recreates Monroe’s—sorry, I must—iconic 'last sitting', was not a promotion for a biopic. It just feels like Lohan played her because, well, she’s iconic!
'I was like, This is gonna be fun!' Roach recalls thinking, in a phone conversation late last week. 'I think we all missed her, you know? And seeing her at her best, in her element. So I wanted to be a part of it.'
For the premiere of the film, on November 10, Lohan went super classic, in a nude brocade Valentino column with long sleeves. She looked a bit Liz Taylor, Jet Set fabulous, but not costume-y. She’s also popped up in ensembles that recall the edgy classicism of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, who adored the avant-garde fashion sections of New York’s best department stores, like a black button-up set with a boxy little handbag, and a draped white sleeveless skirt suit with a standup collar, cinched with a gold belt. She got a little racy for an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in a sleek red pieced-leather Versace cocktail dress—which reminded me that rare is the star nowadays who simply knows what colors and shapes make her look fantastic. The clothes don’t merely imply that the star has it together, that she’s fully an adult—though they certainly telegraph both of those things. Lohan’s Law Roach era also suggests a glamour out of time, a woman who survived with a classicist’s commitment to beauty.
And yet the press tour for which Roach was enlisted, for the Netflix film Falling for Christmas, is not a comeback. (The film is part of a two-picture creative partnership with the streaming platform.) Instead, Roach saw it as a meeting between two fashion fanatics. 'It was really like me dressing a colleague, almost,' he says, because of Lohan’s depth of knowledge about clothes.
'One thing I would say about her is that she knows fashion, she knows clothes,' Roach says. 'Her taste is exquisite. I actually really, really enjoyed our time together because it’s not that often I really get to have real fashion conversations with clients.' Lohan 'has so many incredible relationships with designers—personal relationships with designers—so her knowledge of clothes and construction' is deeper than the average superstar’s.' She was the creative director of Ungaro and a personal friend of Karl Lagerfeld’s, Roach reminds us. 'She’s a bit of a fashion historian,' he says, and has an impressive collection of archival fashion, which appeals greatly to Roach, of course, who is known for dressing his clients in stunning vintage pieces, a proclivity which helped kick off the current craze for archival fashion. (Even the dress code at the CFDA awards earlier this month, where Roach was honoured, was 'Archival American'.)
'We had so many things in common,' Roach says, 'that it felt like we had known each other for years'.
Lohan’s team reached out to Roach’s before the press bonanza began, and 'I was interested,' he recalls. 'I was definitely interested—a thousand percent.' So that whole fracas, where Lohan ragged on Zendaya’s 2019 Met Gala dress for looking too much like Clare Danes’s from a few years prior? It’s all water under the bridge! Back then, Roach was asked about Lohan’s tweets on the red carpet, and issued the ultimate fashion world snub: 'I don’t know her.'
'That interview where I said I didn’t know her,' Roach says now. “You know, I wasn’t lying: I didn’t know her. And now I know her! And now I know her enough to know that I really like her.
'We let the clothes do the talking, actually,' Roach says. 'My first fitting with someone, I want to kind of overdo it a bit, right? So I wanna see what they’re naturally drawn to, what the body naturally is drawn to. It’s a lot about the emotion I think clothes evoke when they get on, you know?'
Roach first came to the fashion world’s attention as the stylist to Zendaya and Celine Dion, ushering a new era of runway-fluent, over-the-top celebrity style. He brings a kind of glamorous wink to his clients, dressing Dion in Vetements’s Titanic sweatshirt and Heart of the Ocean necklace, and Ariana Grande in a giant gray Giambattista Valli dress for the Grammys. His looks are often semiotic puns—putting Zendaya in a custom Valentino spiderweb dress for the premiere of Spider-man: No Way Home—but are just as often remarkable sheerly for their extravagance. Now, based in Los Angeles, he wakes up daily at four AM and is styling a dozen or so women at any given time, including Zendaya, Megan Thee Stallion, Kerry Washington, and Emma Watson. He’s become a powerful Hollywood-fashion world dealmaker, sculpting Zendaya’s image even in Valentino ad campaigns, and making a case that the image makers should not be behind the scenes but on the arms of their clients.
'I think more than anything, I’m just a storyteller, right?' Roach says. 'And I just try to use the clothes as the words to tell the story. And if someone’s looking to tell a story, for the clothes to be part of the bigger narrative, then I think that’s why they call me.'
Among the looks that Roach helped Lohan develop, there is no revenge dress, nothing that reveals a shocking physical makeover. Her hair is gloriously groomed in her classic Veronica Lake sweep and her lips are their signature deep apple red. There is no insistence that she knows and cares deeply about the latest designer trends or moments, but instead, a reliance on classics like Akris and Valentino. She exudes polish, crispness, ladylikeness. She looks like the movie star her fans know she is.
The first look together that Roach developed with Lohan was a color block Akris suit with trousers that kicked out at the knee, and a pair of Giuseppe Zannoti pumps, which Lohan wore for an appearance on Good Morning America. 'There was something joyous about the Akris,' Roach says. 'When she put it on, she smiled, I smiled, and hopefully that’s what the reaction was when people got a chance to see it.' He continues, 'It's not so often clothes really can instantly make you do that. And that’s what the beauty about that look was. It was just instantaneously joyful.'
'What people love to say about me is that I’m a risk taker,' Roach muses. 'But it’s like, I’m not really the risk taker. The client is more the risk taker than me. I just look for clothes that make you feel something.'
Roach says Lohan recently sent him an image that a fan page had made on Instagram of all the looks, and he could see strongly the narrative of clothes they’d built together.
Taking the looks in sum, what does it mean, then, to be iconic? Well, Lohan is extraordinarily contemporary figure, in the amount (and type) of infamy and drama she’s overcome. And yet there is something timeless in that, too: a lineage to a more golden, more glamorous era of Hollywood in the push and pull between her suffering and her extraordinary talent. 'I can’t wait to see what we do next,' Roach gushes.
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