Last year, Hollywood glamour came to a halt in the wake of a global pandemic. Gone were the days of couture gracing the elite days after a runway show. Ballgowns made-to-measure for A-listers gliding across the red carpet at a movie premiere ceased to exist. But that didn’t mean dressing up lost its luster—at least not for Law Roach. The self-proclaimed “image architect” thrives off creative energy, from styling celebrities like Celine Dion, Hunter Schafer, and Zendaya (whom he has been dressing since she was 14) to judging HBO Max’s Legendary. In comparison, his time in quarantine was relatively unproductive. “I did not join TikTok. I did not cook banana bread. I didn’t work out. I did not do anything. People came out of quarantine with new skills and new bodies—that was not me,” he tells ELLE.com over the phone. “When you put somebody in that situation who literally works every day and whose whole life depends on him being creative, [then] not having anything to pour into…that was very, very tough. I am not one of those people that came out of quarantine on top.” But 2021 begs to differ.
With Malcolm and Marie, the Netflix film directed by Sam Levinson, Roach is adding costume designer to his resumé. The charged film was born from the COVID-19 pandemic and written and filmed during the summer of 2020. Roach styles Zendaya for her role as Marie, the girlfriend to rising director Malcolm (played by John David Washington, dressed by Samantha McMillen), and offsets the intensity of the film’s black-and-white palette with glamour dripping off Zendaya’s glistening custom gown.
John David Washington and Zendaya star in Malcolm & Marie.
DOMINIC MILLER/NETFLIX © 2021
ELLE.com spoke to Roach about creating the film’s soon-to-be iconic dress via FaceTime and his Black Fashion and Beauty Collective, which aims to support young Black creatives. Read on for more.How did you feel when you were asked to be part of this film?I was so flattered. When Zendaya told me Sam wanted to talk to me about being a part of it, I was really, really excited and a bit overwhelmed because I’ve never been part of any of her movies or her TV shows. I always get to do the premiere, all those types of things, which is great. That’s what a lot of our relationship is based on. How is dressing Zendaya as a person different from dressing Zendaya as Marie?I think there are some similarities. It’s still Zendaya’s…