Law Roach Said It: Dream Jobs Can Be Miserable
Unsurprisingly, him quitting wasn't about a second-row seat at a fashion show.
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On March 16, self-described image architect Law Roach tossed the word “Retired” up on his Instagram account, writing in the caption, “The politics, the lies and false narratives finally got me.” The announcement that one of the world’s most important celebrity stylists was quitting — right after a successful Oscars night — was so stunning it was quickly blogged by top pop culture outlets across the internet, inciting frenzy, disbelief, and the rapid spread of unfounded theories. Much of it revolved around a viral video of Roach and his client Zendaya at the recent Louis Vuitton show in Paris, where she sits in the front row and then appears to gesture to a second-row seat for Roach. Hollywood rumor-monger account deuxmoi, which seems to publish anything anyone sends them as a scalding hot scoop, also leapt into the fray. I have a feeling if I sent them an email with the subject “LAW ROACH TEA” and body text that was a spam ad for a free drill from Home Depot, they’d publish it.
Days after Roach posted that Instagram, he explained in a lengthy interview with The Cut that the politics, lies, and false narratives he was talking about had nothing to do with Louis Vuitton, but rather often stemmed from celebrity publicists. In the conversation with Lindsay Peoples, he described the breaking point he experienced the day after the Oscars, when everyone was still abuzz over his client Hunter Schaefer attending the Vanity Fair Oscar party with only an Ann Demeulemeester feather as a top. That she avoided wardrobe malfunction is a styling feat at least worthy of an engineering Ph.D. student’s thesis.
So that morning I got a call from one of my clients, and it was her, her publicist, and somebody from a brand that I’m supposed to do project with, and I found myself on the phone with these three women, and I felt like I was defending myself because the one woman from the brand was like, “Oh, he’s not communicating, and you’re not gonna have a dress,” and all these things. And it was just a lot of things that were not true.
…And at that moment I just didn’t feel like I was being protected, because there’s no one who can ever say that they’ve worked with me that I didn’t pull my whole heart and soul into them or that I left them hanging and they didn’t have a dress… I got off the phone and I felt like I’m still fighting. I’m still fighting. I’m still defending myself. And one thing people who work with me also know is I don’t like to be managed or feel like I’m being chastised.
Roach, whom many consider the most powerful stylist in Hollywood, gets that he’s leaving behind, to borrow from The Devil Wears Prada, “the job a million girls would kill for.” He recently won a CFDA Award (like an Oscar but for fashion) for best stylist. He is a mega-influencer with a seven-figure Instagram following. His clients include most famously Zendaya, but also Celine Dion, Ariana Grande, Anya Taylor-Joy, Megan Thee Stallion, Lindsay Lohan, and Bella Hadid. They consistently made headlines not just when he dressed them but because he dressed them. “Isn’t it always best to leave when you’re on the top?” Roach told The Cut.
This is precisely why him giving up the gig was so shocking. To be clear, it’s not like Roach has to go get a real estate license and start his life over. He said he will continue working with Zendaya though he’s not entirely sure what that will look like moving forward. He has a book deal. He’s the creative director of a to-be-revealed footwear brand. He might start a podcast or become a red carpet correspondent. But he was clear that everyone he dresses (except for maybe Zendaya) has to find a new stylist.
This isn’t the stereotypical Hollywood ending, someone at the very top of their game in the world’s most glamorous industry choosing happiness and themselves over their job. Sure, it made sense in The Devil Wears Prada when Andy Sachs threw her phone into a fountain to sever ties with her overbearing boss with questionable personal values. The Great Resignation, in which 40 million people left their jobs in 2021, is understood to apply to lower level workers, not CEOs blasting “Break My Soul” on their way out the door. It’s much harder to imagine Miranda Priestley throwing her phone away, trading work for happiness and couture for jeans.