LOS ANGELES (AP) — Celebrity stylist Law Roach, who helped reinvent Zendaya and turned Celine Dion into a fashion icon, shocked the industry last week when he announced his retirement from dressing the rich and famous.
“My Cup is empty,” he wrote in part March 14 on Instagram, explaining: “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.”
Without further clarification on the since-deleted post, the 44-year-old Roach followed up his huge red “RETIRED” graphic with a round of interviews, telling The Associated Press on Tuesday night: “I was just going through something and I just needed to, to release everything I was going through.”
The retirement part, from celebrity styling at least, is real, he said on the red carpet at the Fashion Trust US Awards.
“I felt like that was the best way for me to walk away from the industry for a while to just, you know, work on my mental, my mental health and my physical health,” Roach said.
Over 13 years, Roach has dressed Kerry Washington, Anya Taylor-Joy, Megan Thee Stallion, Ariana Grande, Dion and many other top celebrities. He helped transition Zendaya from Disney kid to grownup A-lister and the two enjoy a close bond.
After the Oscars, just two days before his surprise retirement announcement, Roach put Ann Demeulemeester in a tiny white feather top for the Vanity Fair afterparty and worked with several others on Hollywood’s big night. He won’t be dressing anybody for the upcoming Met Gala in May after years of having his hand in on fashion’s biggest night.
Roach, a rare Black stylist in Hollywood, has also been a judge on television’s “Legendary” and was named the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s inaugural stylist of the year in 2022.
He told the AP the decision to step back from celebrity styling was a hard one that “took a lot of courage and I’m actually proud of myself that for the first time in years, I put myself first.”
Roach said the industry has rallied around him.
“I’ve had nothing but good support and comments. So it’s making this transition a little bit easier for me,” he said.
Roach earlier told Vogue he’s not stepping away from fashion altogether. He walked as a model for Boss at a Miami show soon after dropping his retirement news.
Personal tragedy, Roach told The Cut, has taken a toll on his life. In 2021, his 3-year-old nephew fell to his death from a 17th floor window in Chicago.
“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. The guilt of not being in his life enough and not really knowing him enough had put me into a really dark depression,” he said.
As a Black stylist in Hollywood, Roach told The Cut, fighting white nepotism in the early days was a struggle.
“It’s so strong because these stylists, these white female stylists, they grew up with these white publicists and agents,” he said. “It’s this network that I was able to penetrate.”
So what’s next?
“I just wanna breathe. I wanna fly. I wanna be happy,” Roach said. “I wanna figure other things out.”