“Fashion is dying!!!!” I imagine Anna Wintour is currently wailing from her corner office in the Condé Nasty building over an extra foam cappuccino. I’m sure she isn’t alone: I get the sense that all the head honchos in the industry have taken a break from their daily solipsism to mourn one of Hollywood’s most revered stylists. I’m holding out hope that this is a PR stunt or poorly timed April Fool’s joke, but for the time being, I must inform you that here lies Law Roach’s career.
On Tuesday afternoon, Roach, most known for Celine Dion’s 2016 fashion resurgence and for turning Zendaya into a certified fashion icon, posted an image to his Instagram of a red “RETIRED” sign. Accompanied by three red hearts, he wrote:
“My Cup is empty…thank you to everyone who’ve [sic] supported me and my career over the years. Every person that trusted me with their image, I’m so grateful for you all. If this business was just about the clothes I would do it for the rest of my life but unfortunately it’s not! The politics, the lies and false narratives finally got me! You win...I’m out.”
Judging by the comments on this post alone, the entire fashion industry seems to be stuck in a doom loop, refusing to accept why someone this talented and successful might be calling it quits so early. “Absolutely not,” Christian Siriano commented. Addison Rae wrote “WHAT?!” with a sobbing emoji. “No,” celebrity stylist Karla Welch wrote. “You will always have a home @britishvogue,” Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief of British Vogue, added. Diet Prada, which simply posted 12 question marks, is already being summoned for an investigation by netizens, while Lisa Rinna, Maren Morris, and Naomi Campbell all shared their heartbreak over the announcement.
If you’re not familiar with Roach or his work, it’s truly hard to overstate just how much of a hand he’s had in shaping red carpet style over the last decade. He’s styled Kerry Washington, Serena Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy (that vintage Bob Mackie, ugh!), Megan Thee Stallion, Lindsay Lohan, and Lewis Hamilton. He just dressed a handful of celebrities for the Oscars, not even 48 hours ago, including the runaway look of the evening: Hunter Schafer in the Ann Demeulemeester feather top. W Magazine even credits him with Bella Hadid’s vintage Versace “triumph” at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022. But perhaps his greatest accomplishment of all—and there are many—is his long-running collaboration with Zendaya.
Roach didn’t simply dress Zendaya: Together, they crafted an infallible image, which has proven sophisticated, meticulous, and far more influential than anyone could’ve predicted. They began working together when she was just 14 years old, still a mainstay on the Disney Channel, according to CNN. Fast forward 12 years, and Zendaya is Roach’s muse—the one starlet who continues to extract the most inventive, high-risk choices out of him, time and time again. There was the wet Balmain dress for the Dune premiere, the Joan of Arc-inspired Versace gown for the 2018 Met Gala, and her 2021 Oscars dress, a glow-in-the-dark canary yellow gown by Valentino Haute Couture. Both Roach and Zendaya have a knack for architecting moments that take your breath away. Together, they created nothing short of magic.
Roach received similar praise for his groundbreaking work with Celine Dion in her late forties. The Guardian describes his “practically overnight” overhaul of Dion’s personal style in 2016 as a metamorphosis “from midlife chanteuse to fashion maven.” Single-handedly, he brought Dion back to relevance with, for example, an $885 Titanic sweatshirt. At 49 years old, Vanity Fair lauded Dion as a “fashion icon,” due in large part to Roach’s tastes.
Though it’s not yet clear what caused Roach’s sudden divorce from fashion, I’d like to call attention to my accidental manifestation of this moment. Last year, I was so sickened by the divinity of Zendaya’s repeated red-carpet triumphs that I wrote:
“From the Oscars and fashion shows to a slew of slinky after parties, Zendaya’s hot streak of looks may never come to an end. Think about it. When was the last time she missed? Was there a last time? Or does she simply… not miss?...If you, like me, have been repeatedly mentally and emotionally destroyed by Zendaya’s looks, please direct your blame to her stylist...Law Roach. Law, stop it, you hear me! Don’t you need a break?! Is your work life balance okay???”
Apparently, he was not okay!! For the love of fashion and all that is holy, let us pray that Roach returns to the business of styling so that Zendaya and Celine may continue serving “Mother”—and in turn, serving the people—until the end of time. In the meantime, watch this space for updates, because I smell a mess.