Courtesy Law Roach
You may not be familiar with the term "image architect," but know this: Law Roach already has it trademarked. At a time when there are countless talented celebrity stylists, Roach is steadfast in his approach, taking on new clients—not to dress them in the latest buzzy runway look from the Paris runways—but to look beyond fashion and develop a deeper connection.
He may dress celebrities like Céline Dion and Zendaya both on and off the red carpet, but for Roach, it's not about just being a stylist in the most narrow sense of the word. "It has never been about picking the prettiest dress," Roach says. "What I do is really similar to what an architect does. They're hired on a project either to build it from scratch, or to come in and make changes structurally. That's where the term came from."
In an age where social media and a 24/7 news cycle create an increasingly intimate relationship between celebrities and fans, it's no longer enough to dress for events and switch to sweatpants on the weekends. Stars turn to Roach to help build a narrative, to create a cohesive story that connects who they are and what they wear. He challenges them to push boundaries while still staying true to their personal aesthetic. With a new client, the process starts organically, he explains: "We sit down and we survey this person and look at every single thing they've ever worn. We dig down to the core of who the client is."
He adds, "I am not a fashion expert at all. Fashion is a multibillion-dollar business that I only know a small percentage of. Fashion can be learned, fashion is trendy, and it can be followed. But style is a calling card. It's art. I figure out what story my clients want to tell, and I try to help them tell it." Roach is drawing the blueprints, setting the foundations, and building the legacy of how we define Hollywood style in the internet age.
Roach believes that many clients seek him out because his approach is different. He uses Céline Dion as an example. "The Céline you see and have been seeing for the last couple of summers has always been Céline." He adds, "I just think that nobody helped move that to the forefront. It's just the process of me finding that little thing, that little piece of them that hasn't hit the light yet." While he's not afraid to put a celebrity in a wild color or an unexpected print, it's never about the clothes as much as the message behind them.
When I ask Roach if there's a moment he's not sure the world was ready for, he's quick to respond. "The Vetements Titanic sweatshirt. I didn't think it would cause the global frenzy that it did." referring to a look he styled for Dion in 2016. "I put Céline Dion in this streetwear brand that doesn't scream Céline Dion at all, but it was a way to pay homage to the movie and the song that made her career in many ways. It was something that was intimate between her and me."
But with her wild street style moments, in many ways, Dion is the exception in Roach's long list of clients. "Her whole life is clothes and fashion," he notes. Though he approaches it in the same holistic method, there's less overt spectacle in what clients wear. Generally, his goals are more about instilling confidence and making a client comfortable, rather than creating a "street style moment" as a means of display.
"There are a lot of street style stylists that do a good job, but that's not particularly my thing," he notes. "I don't think the women I dress are street style star types. My girls are quiet." While we may live in an age of oversharing, Roach tends to dress women who are ultra selective about how and when they choose to reveal parts of themselves.
Despite Roach's personal successes, starting with an impressive roster of clients (Zendaya, Naomie Harris, and Anne Hathaway included), he finds that one of the biggest frustrations of working in Hollywood to be the lack of diversity across the board. Though there has been progress over the last few years, Roach notes that beyond directors, producers, and actors, there needs to be a larger conversation around promoting people of color.
"The whole fight about diversity in Hollywood stops at the actresses. We all need to be more vocal and include creatives of color at every single level," he tells me. "No one is fighting for black stylists, black makeup artists, or the crew on a set. I would love to finally get to a place where I'm not the only one."
Though Roach claims that his work as an Image Architect is "really my only God-given talent," it's a unique ability to listen and interpret the way women want to dress that has helped to establish him at a time when personal style is easily lost in a feed full of designer ensembles. "Whether they're going to the Oscars or they're going to the airport, my end result is to make my client feel as comfortable and beautiful as possible."