“I am definitely, 100,000 percent retiring.”
So says Law Roach in a new and wide-ranging interview with The Cut and its editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples done directly on the heels of an announcement that shook up the fashion industry this week. The A-list star stylist posted on Instagram that he was bowing out because “the politics, the lies and false narratives” finally got him. “You win,” he shared. “I’m out.”
Roach elaborated during the sit-down with Peoples, sharing that he’s been miserable for quite some time and this was not some overnight decision. But he did clarify that he’s not done with the fashion business entirely, just celebrity styling. The move came as a surprise to many considering he recently won an award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America for best stylist, dressed Megan Thee Stallion, Kerry Washington, Hunter Schafer, Hailee Steinfeld and Eve Jobs for the Vanity Fair Oscar party and collaborated with Zendaya on awards show ensembles for SAG and the NAACP.
“Nobody can say what’s forever and what will happen, but at this moment, and in my mind, I’m definitely retiring from celebrity styling. I’m not retiring from fashion, because I love it so much. But styling, in the way that I’ve been of service to other people, I’m retiring from that,” he said. “I haven’t been happy, honestly, in a really long time. And the culmination of everything that’s been happening in my career these last few days kind of just pushed me over the edge. And it’s just like, You know what? I’ve done everything. I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to move and climb in this industry the way I have. But I can’t say that I didn’t do that without suffering.”
While he has styled stars like Celine Dion, Anne Hathaway, Anya Taylor-Joy, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Bebe Rexha and more, Roach is best known for a longtime relationship with Zendaya. He’s often said they are family after having worked together as she ascended the Hollywood ranks from the Disney Channel to Emmy Award winning actress for Euphoria and blockbuster movie star in Dune. There’s no doubt that their work together helped position her in a new light both in fashion (named a CFDA fashion icon in 2021) and Hollywood.
“The way that we came into the industry, nobody wanted to touch either one of us,” he explained. “Like nobody wanted to lend me clothes. Nobody wanted to dress her ’cause at that time, Disney girls wasn’t considered real actresses. So we pinky swore to each other that I would do my part. She would do her part. And we would do it together. And I think that allowed me to circumvent all the other ways that people become successful, the nepotism.”
He clarifies that while he’s bowing out of celebrity styling, he will still be in Zendaya’s life in some capacity. “People will say, ‘Oh, you not gonna leave Zendaya.’ But I don’t have to style Zendaya to be a part of her team and her creativity team, right? So maybe if I choose, you know, not to be her stylist, I can still be her creative director and I can still, you know, manage a stylist or however I choose to do it. I haven’t made a decision. She’s giving me the grace to be able to make that decision because we really have a kinship. Like, you know, we’ve grown up together. And that’s all I ever asked, was for people who I worked so hard for to just give me grace when I need it.”
The internet, gossip blogs and Twitter had been lighting up this week after the retirement announcement thanks in large part due to a video that surfaced of the recent Louis Vuitton fashion show in Paris. Zendaya, rumored to be in a new contract with LV, had a seat in the front row inside Musee d’Orsay for the unveiling of the fall-winter 2023 collection. However, there was no room for Roach next to his superstar client so she seems to be directing him to a seat in the second row, a position that could be taken as a huge snub for someone of Roach’s caliber.
“What actually happened?” Peoples asks. Roach delivers a long answer by explaining that they were late to the show due to traffic and once they arrived, it was a chaotic scene. He was also surprised to not have a seat next to his client as that was typical while she was an ambassador for Valentino.
“The Vuitton team was, like, shuffling us as fast as possible to the seats. And so what happened was — we have to remember that we just came from a house where she was the only face, the only ambassador. Even for years, like, I’m always used to sitting next to her. And so, in my mind, my seat was next to her. So when I got there and it wasn’t, you know, it wasn’t a problem, but there was nobody to tell me where my actual seat was,” he says. And so the seat behind her, when you see her turn around and touch the seat, it wasn’t her telling me to sit there, it was her telling me like, “That’s Darnell’s seat,” which is her assistant. I’m not gonna sit in Darnell’s seat. So then where does he go? And so I was standing there — I was really just kind of confused.”
Roach thinks people were quick to draw conclusions and presume it was an extension of a “beef” with Louis Vuitton’s parent company, LVMH. That can be traced back to a social media dustup in 2021, when Roach blasted Dior on Instagram for not crediting him (or tagging him) with a look he styled for client Taylor-Joy.
“Don’t erase me. Don’t erase my contribution to this look and to this dress. Don’t erase all the phone calls, emails, and text messages, and going back and forth, and me working to make sure that my client is happy. Don’t erase that,” Roach explained of the response he posted on his Instagram Stories. “And when I did do that, I got so many DMs from other stylists, like, ‘Thank you for doing that, because they did the same thing to me.’ Or, ‘They’ve been doing the same thing to me for years.’ And my biggest thing, and anybody who knows me knows, I don’t mind being the first, or taking a hit from something, to make sure that people don’t have to go through the same things. And when I say people, I mean, Black people…It takes a lot of bravery because, again, LVMH is very powerful in this industry. And I have to be okay and have no fear of saying, ‘It’s just not right.’”
Shortly thereafter, he and Taylor-Joy parted ways and are no longer working together. He also split with Chopra Jonas, who has made headlines in recent days for saying that she cried to her husband, Nick Jonas, and members of her family after someone told her that she “wasn’t sample-sized.” It has been reported that the someone was Roach but he says that conversation never happened.
“It was a little bit hurtful in a way that it ended up in the press. Because that wasn’t the real conversation. I’ve never had that conversation with her, ever. So again, it is her gatekeepers, how they presented what I said to her to make her feel that way. And if that made her feel bad, that wasn’t — it was taken out of context,” he claims. “But I’m sure it was taken outta context to get her to be like, ‘Oh, okay, I’m not working with him no more. He’s insensitive to my body.’ Which I’m like, ‘How is that possible? I’ve been dressing you for literally pre-pandemic, and it’s been nothing but great things.”
Roach also spends time talking about the emotional impact of a nonstop career and the weight of not having time for friends or relationships, or the time to fully grieve the passing of a nephew who died in November 2021 at age 3. He says the death led him to realize how depressed he was and “on the verge of suicide.”
“I saw him when he was born, I saw him on Christmas, one time, and then I saw him around our birthday. So I had only been able to see him three times in his whole life. Not being able to ever know who he would be, I was on the verge of suicide, honestly,” Roach says. “The guilt of not being in his life enough and not really knowing him enough had put me into a really dark depression. And I had never been depressed in my life. So my brain couldn’t really understand what was happening.”
What happens next, Roach still isn’t sure. He confirms that he won’t be dressing anyone for the Met Gala on May 1 (“No Met Gala…canceled,” he says) but he will be focusing on an unannounced deal to serve as creative director for a footwear brand plus a book deadline that is fast approaching. “I wanna do more personality-drive stuff,” he says, on the heels of walking in a runway show for Boss in Miami.
Maybe he’ll have a social life, too.
“I know it’s only been a couple days, but I feel alive,” he says. “I don’t have any friends. I don’t have any relationships. Everything that could bring me joy has been suppressed because of the work. This persona of, you know, Luxury Law, Law Roach the Stylist, and not realizing that I was miserable. So I just, I just wanna breathe. I wanna fly; I wanna be happy. I wanna figure other things out.”