Using fashion to tell a story has become a hallmark of Law Roach’s career. The self-described image architect has guided the style narratives of superstars like Celine Dion, Zendaya (whom he styled for W’s latest cover), and, most recently, Anya Taylor-Joy, turning them into bonafide fashion darlings. He believes in the power of a “red carpet moment,” he says. “The right dress at the right moment can really change someone’s profile.” Here, Roach reflects on some of his styling highlights, his first major fashion purchase, and how Marc Jacobs influenced his personal style.
How did you and Anya Taylor-Joy start working together?
Zendaya and Anya share the same PR. I think he may have texted me saying, “I have a client I work with who wants to work with you.” And it was Anya. I hadn't dove into her yet, so she and I set up a call. I think we might’ve FaceTimed—we just talked about fashion.
It's okay, you can say “the most.” [Laughs]. “Most” is fine. We'll take it—it was the most talked-about, reposted look of the night.
Can you tell the story behind that look?
A bit of the inspiration came from her character from The Queen’s Gambit. I wanted it to feel retro, I wanted it to have a nod to the past. When I think of the 1950s, and I think of the couturiers from that era, it's Christian Dior. When I spoke to the Dior team about doing something custom for the event, they were really open to it and happy to do it. But the inspiration was the bombshells of yesteryear: the Marilyns and the Audreys.
At the Critics Choice Awards a week later, Anya came with another major Dior look. Can you discuss the inspiration behind that dress?
It was a really different look. We had actually tried on that dress in our fittings. So when the Dior team brought the custom looks, I also had them bring some couture looks from the previous season. It was just the color and the fabric which caught my eye—and they made the gloves for me—those gloves weren’t originally in the look. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for Anya because she was in quarantine and there was a lockdown in London. She had to do her own hair and makeup. We had already seen this beautiful gown from Dior, so I just thought it would be simple for her.
While the look was simple, the Bulgari jewelry choice felt unique.
I just think that dress didn't need a lot, but when I saw the earrings after Bulgari presented me options, I was like, that contrast could be really interesting—and that's exactly what happened. That one was really lucky, because I never got to see the jewelry in person. That jewelry was in London. Usually, when we do these type of events, we go and see the jewelry in person. I would've been able to see the dress, I would have been able to see the jewelry. But the circumstances are a bit different these days.
Tell me about being on set with Zendaya and John David Washington for the W cover shoot.
It was the day before Christmas Eve. We pulled the shoot together really quickly—imagine: still in a pandemic, the day before a holiday. It was quite the feat, I would say. But the house the team found and the vintage car and all the furniture, were really incredible. It was like being transported to that era. For us, even just being there felt like you were in a Slim Aarons photograph. The biggest inspiration actually came from Slim. We wanted to recreate that and insert Zendaya and John David into that narrative.
What is your go-to outfit for a day off?
This is going to sound funny: I love Hanes sweatpants and sweatshirts, just from Target or Walmart. I like to get them really, really, really oversized and wear them with some white athletic socks. Usually I'll get them in gray or navy. They're like, $30 of $40, but they make me really happy.
Describe your style in three words.
Easy, a bit tacky [laughs], joyful.
What were you wearing yesterday and why did you decide to wear it?
Yesterday, I was wearing a thawb, which is a Middle Eastern garment that the men wear. I love it because it's comfortable, but it's also chic, and it can be dressed up. I like to wear them with sneakers or more of a dressy shoe or a boot. They’re actually a staple in my wardrobe now.
What was your style like as a teenager?
I was more into trends as a teenager, as we all are, you know—we want to wear what our friends are wearing, or our favorite artists, or athletes. So it was a lot of whatever was popular at that time, which was denim—lots and lots of oversize denim.
What were the other kids wearing when you were growing up?
I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, so it was all about Nike and Jordans and, again, a lot of denim. But everything was baggier then.
What is the most prized possession in your closet?
I have a Chanel jacket that I purchased from the brand’s pre-fall 2014 Dallas collection that I really, really love. It's really unique because it's tweed, but it has fringe. That collection was very specific—it was all about cowboys and Texas. And that jacket was one of the only men's looks that Karl Lagerfeld showed in that collection. Especially since we lost Karl, when I look at that piece, I just see his artistry.
Do you remember your first major fashion purchase?
I still have a pair of Gucci loafers that I bought when I was in high school. It was my first pair of designer shoes. I think I paid $300 or $400 for them. They’re super square toe and they had the elongated “G” gold buckle on them. That purchase started my trip into luxury—my bad habit of luxury.
Do you have a favorite fashion moment from pop culture?
It would have to be something like the Versace dress Elizabeth Hurley wore that made her into a star. I love moments like that, because they show the power of fashion and the red carpet, and how it can really impact someone's career. I think I built my career off of that theory—the right dress at the right moment can really change someone's profile.
Are there any great fashion tips you've picked up on set?
Everything I've done in my career has always involved trial and error, because I didn't work for anyone as an assistant or an intern. I'm self-taught. There are a few techniques that I've figured out, especially when it comes to the stress and anxiety of getting someone dressed for a red carpet, because we always have five minutes to get them out the door. Even the way you zip up a dress at that moment, in the middle of all that chaos, is a tip.
Do you have a biggest fashion regret?
I don't think I have any. No fashion regrets for me.
What's your style pet peeve?
What's your preferred footwear?
A boot with at least a 60 millimeter heel. I like the Christian Louboutin Joker Boot—that's one boot I wear all the time.
Who is your ultimate style icon?
Which friend or designer's style do you admire the most?
Marc Jacobs. A few years ago, he started wearing skirts and I just thought that was so cool. I actually adopted that part of my personal style from Marc. He did a kilt look probably, what, seven or eight years ago, that resonated. So I started to wear skirts a few years ago.
What's currently on your shopping wishlist?
There are a few things from Loewe that I think are exciting—in particular, a white coat that they did with a big black circle. And looks from JW Anderson, I love the way he pushes the boundaries with menswear.
What's the best piece of fashion advice you've ever received?
I don't know if it’s advice I've ever received, but for me, the advice I always give people is to wear what you love, and don't give an f about what people think about it.