Stylist Law Roach on the Power of Black Girl Magic

by Aria Darcella

With an increasingly high-profile roster of clients, including Ariana Grande, Céline Dion, and Tiffany Haddish, Law Roach has risen from the creative talent who reinvented Zendaya’s image to become one of Hollywood’s most important stylists.

What are your earliest style memories?
I’m heavily influenced by women in general. Growing up in a black family, our day of style was Sunday, going to church. I remember as a young boy watching my grandmothers — both pretty stylish — and no matter which grandmother’s house I was staying over and going to church with, [the process] started Saturday night for them. Getting out of the bath, painting their nails, rolling their hair in preparation for Sunday morning, when the rollers came out, and the makeup went on, the nylons. The last moment of zipping the dress… I remember thinking “This is such an art form!” Boys didn’t have to do all that. There’s so much that goes into being a woman. I also think that style is something that you’re born with. You can learn fashion; you can learn trends. But that thing that’s inside you, guiding you toward certain things — that, you’re born with.

So were you born with an ability to discover or create other people’s personal style MOs?
That’s where the term “Image Architect” came from. I have this innate ability to figure that out and help guide that, mixed with research and everything else that goes into figuring out who my clients are and what they want to be. That’s why I started calling myself that. In my mind, I was doing more than just picking out clothes.

Who have you been working with this summer?
I started with Anne Hathaway this summer, and she’s been absolutely amazing. I just got a call from my agent. He said, “Anne Hathaway wants to speak to you.” We had a conversation, and we had a fitting. It went well, and I’ve been working with her ever since. I started working with Naomie Harris as well.

What does Anne want to project on the red carpet?
What makes us work is that it’s about feelings. I don’t think it’s about having a plan for anything — it’s about organically and emotionally coming to the conclusion of what she’s going to wear, when she gets it on. I think all the magic is made in the fittings.

Any emerging designers that you’re betting big on?
I’ve been supporting this Australian designer, Toni Maticevski, for a while. I just saw Ciara wear one of his dresses, and Katy Perry recently wore him, too. I love to see that. I’ve been using him — or at least trying to — for a while now. Anne wore him on the first day for Ocean’s 8 press, and I also used a couple of dresses on Evangeline Lilly for Ant-Man and the Wasp.

How do you convince clients to opt for up-and-coming designers?
I never try to convince my clients to wear anything. That’s not my job. My job is to present these clothes. It’s always, for me, that feeling of, Oh, that’s it! That take your-breath-away moment; that goose bumps moment, where you’re like, “This is it. This is the dress!” I feel like that needs to happen for everything, whether it’s a red carpet or a press day.

Tiffany Haddish at the 2018 Tony Awards (PMC)

Zendaya and Tiffany Haddish both scored September covers, for Marie Claire and Glamour, respectively— how did you feel when you saw the issues?
It gave me chills to see all these women of color on the most important issue of the year for magazines. I think it speaks to the power of Black Girl Magic. I actually styled Tiffany Haddish for Glamour’s September issue. I’m so proud to be a part of this moment, with Tiffany and my work, and then Zendaya’s gorgeous cover. As a creative of color, it makes me really, really proud and happy, and gives me a little bit more hope that the fashion world is continuing to change.

Do you think these covers will push runways toward looking more diverse?
I hope it will push everything — not only the fashion industry. I hope it trickles down to other industries. It’s 2018, we should already know that we are all created equal. We all love, and we all hurt. I feel like some people still don’t believe that. Some people still don’t believe that all women are beautiful, no matter what size, color, shape, anything. Everybody deserves to be treated equally, and everybody deserves to start on an even playing field and have the same opportunities.

How did you meet Tiffany Haddish?
She was looking for a new stylist and she said that everyone that she mentioned it to in casual conversation was like, “Oh, you should call Law!” And she did. She came over to my studio, we had a fitting, and we just vibed out.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve heard Tiffany say?
She says a lot of funny things, but what I take away more is her positive outlook on life. She’s really into the Law of Attraction [book and philosophy] — speaking things into existence — which I’m also into. The first time I worked with Tiffany, she had a premiere for her show [The Last O.G.] with Tracy Morgan. There was this guy; we were all standing together, so we introduced ourselves. He said, “I met [Tiffany] 12 years ago, and every single time somebody wanted to take a picture with her she would say ’success.’ ” And I was like, “She still does that!” That’s something that stuck with me.

What was it like styling Zendaya, Ariana Grande, and Mary J. Blige for the Met Gala?
I had input on the designs from the first sketch. Ariana’s Vera Wang was sketch after sketch, conversations, fittings. Zendaya’s Joan of Arc actually came to me in a dream; I worked with Versace to create that. And for Mary, I worked with Versace to create that look as well.

Zendaya at the 2018 Met Ball (PMC)

What was that collaborative process like with Versace?
I’ve had a working relationship with Versace for a while now. It was an easy choice for me to advise Zendaya on going to the Met [wearing] Versace — I knew they had the capabilities at the atelier to do whatever we dreamed of, and that’s exactly what happened. Ariana had never been to the Met Gala. We got a couple of invites… I had just worked with Vera Wang with Mary J. Blige for the Oscars. When Ariana said that she would be interested in going, then I made that introduction, and Vera came to visit her. It just felt right. Ari as a girl is very romantic. Ari loves art and history, and when Vera started presenting sketches and fabrications she could do, I thought, “This is going to be perfect for your first Met experience.”

What role does fashion play in how people represent themselves to the world?
I think it’s everything. I think it’s absolutely everything, in both a positive and negative way. Before we hear somebody speak, or know what their stance is, or really honestly know what their talents are, we see their image.

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