Just one look at Law Roach’s client roster will show you why he no longer refers to himself as a stylist, but a “celeb image architect.” And so what if he made up that title himself — he has earned every bit of it.
Roach, who nabbed InStyle’s Stylist of the Year at Monday night’s InStyle Awards, is not only the man behind Zendaya’s killer style, but also has created unforgettable looks for Mariah Carey, Jameela Jamil (whom he styled in a feathery Prabal Gurung dress that night), Ariana Grande, and is part of the genius behind Celine Dion's latest rise to fashion prominence. There’s an art to his work, a carefully constructed plan for each client's whole aura, and their looks always make a statement.
As he sauntered onto the carpet at the Getty Center in Los Angeles in a flowy, printed Givenchy robe that matched his date Zendaya’s Givenchy embroidered top, Roach told us why he left the stylist title behind, and dished about all things fashion, including his work with the Euphoria star and Mariah Carey.
“When I started doing this job, I just felt like I was doing a little bit more than just putting a pretty girl in a pretty dress,” Roach said. “It was a bit more thought out. It was a bit more researched. So, I actually coined that term and also I have the trademark. I own the trademark for ‘image architect,’ so I'm the only one in the whole world. I wanted to name myself and give myself a title.”
Roach not only helped develop a blueprint for years of fashion slayage for Zendaya, but the two went on to collaborate on fashion projects together, including their recent Tommy X Zendaya collection and their former clothing and shoe line Daya by Zendaya.
“We've been together for a really long time,” Roach said. “I think it's our eight- or nine-year anniversary coming up soon, so we've grown up together. Our style has changed and evolved together.”
Zendaya reflected on the first time they met as she presented Roach with his award, saying, “He walked out with this gorgeous YSL bag and 14-year-old me said ‘is that YSL?!’ and he goes ‘of course!’ And from there we were inseparable.”
As far as the best piece of fashion advice he’s ever given the actress, Roach said it happened the first time they worked together. “She tried on this outfit and she came to me and said, ‘what if...?’ And right at the end of her sentence, I was like, ‘who cares?’ So, it's always been wear what you want, whatever you think, or whatever makes us smile and makes us laugh, and not really give a F about what people think and what they say. She’s been living that way ever since. And I'm so proud of that.”
At the podium on Monday, Zendaya recalled that same “what if” moment. “I was so nervous to wear it. It was like a shiny skirt, and I was like ‘omg so risky.’ Little did I know what would happen to my life.”
That fearlessness has flowed over to Zendaya’s career choices too, particularly with her acclaimed performance in the hit HBO show, a big shift from her previous film and TV projects like Spider-Man: Far From Home and K.C. Undercover. “She always says that the fashion helped her with her confidence,” Roach said. “And once you’re confident and you believe in yourself, there's nothing you can’t do.”
And Zendaya is more than grateful for Roach’s influence on her life. “You are an absolute visionary,” she continued during the ceremony. “You have taught me so much about myself, to not give an F about what people think, to be proud of who I am and when I look in the mirror.”
“You always remind me if I ever get nervous about my hair, makeup, or whatever, that — do you care what they really think? And I say nope, and then we go,” she said with a laugh. “You’ve inspired me to be fearless with the roads that you continue to pave. I’m lucky to be by your side.”
Jameela Jamil also expressed her gratitude for Roach at the InStyle Awards on Monday, telling InStyle that he is the first stylist she has ever worked with and in just a couple of months she has learned the Law Roach difference. “I've never worked with stylists because they've told me I had to slim myself into sample sizes. So, I will tell them to go f—k themselves. Law doesn't do that and respects my body as it is," she said. "I still can't fit into most samples, Law just makes magic happen and gets me into high fashion. Normally things will literally just explode over my ass,” she adds with her signature bluntness.
Jamil said the fitting for the dress she wore to the InStyle Awards was the moment she knew they were a match. “It was one of the first things we tried on together and we both gasped. I didn't realize we had identical tastes where we both like things to be just a bit too much,” she laughed. “We love drama and we love fashion and we don't believe in bothering unless you're going to go hard. We both really respect the art of fashion and so it's a match made in heaven."
In addition to his work with Jamil and Zendaya, Roach also recently styled Mariah Carey (whom he said he’s “obsessed with”) in a shimmery off-the-shoulder black dress for Variety’s Power of Women cover, and said that although he’s worked with her before, there’s one thing that has surprised him most about the pop diva. “I didn't know how smart she was,” he said. “We always know the music and the sarcasm, but she's super, super intelligent, and I was really impressed with that. I just felt really blessed to be around that.”
“She's somebody I've looked up to during my life and her intelligence just kind of blew me away,” he added. “She's a really smart woman and kind and funny. And, you know, shady,” he added with a laugh. “Everything we love about Mariah.”
As Roach accepted his award — and reminded the crowd with a laugh, “I am not Billy Porter” — he paid tribute to Zendaya and his other clients, and asked everyone in the room to give a chance to someone who needs it and who also doesn’t look like them.
“I’m not supposed to be here,” he said. “Where I’m from, no one makes it into these rooms, and I’m standing here because someone told me I was special and someone gave me an opportunity.”
Of course, he’s being modest; he’s the architect.