If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, The Hollywood Reporter may receive an affiliate commission.
On Wednesday evening, Hollywood stylists Jason Rembert, Philippe Uter and Nicolas Bru were in the crowd at Citizen News in Hollywood to fete their colleague Law Roach’s debut fashion designs. The Hollywood Reporter‘s Top Stylist of The Year in 2021 has teamed up with Parisian luxury label Hervé Léger for a limited-edition resort collection due to land in October.
In advance of the party, Roach — who counts Zendaya, Venus Williams, Bella Hadid, Kerry Washington, Priyanka Chopra Jones, and Hunter Schafer as clients — specially invited THR onto the set of a first photo shoot for the line.
Born in 1985, the Hervé Léger brand made a name in the late ’80s and early ’90s with signature bandage dresses, as seen on the likes of Salma Hayek, Rihanna, Liz Hurley, Cindy Crawford, Lou Doillon and Kim Kardashian. The design’s crisscrossing bands in a weighty Spanx-like stretch fabric flatter the female form.
Hervé Léger x Law Roach breathes new magic into the label, which has had a recent resurgence as Aughts style is trending. In 2018, the brand ushered in new creative director Christian Juul Nielsen, who had previous stints at Dior (with John Galliano and Raf Simons), Oscar de la Renta and Nina Ricci. No surprise that it was Roach who spiked brand buzz last August when he dressed Haddish in a puff-sleeve black mini dress for a premiere. The frock immediately sold out, the Léger team came calling, and the rest is history.
The new 25-piece collection ($690 to $2,900) includes new riffs on bandage dresses, along with crop tops, catsuits, long and short skirts, and elbow gloves. Notable details are asymmetry, sheer panels, peek-a-boo cutouts; the palette is black, camel, white, blush and lavender in solids and stripes.
While Roach’s glam team prepped him for the collection’s first official shoot, we chatted with the self-titled “image architect” to hear what he had to say about his latest accomplishment.
You’ve designed costumes, but this is your first full-blown collection, right?
Yes, under my name. I’ve done a few things with my partner-in-style Zendaya [assisting her with two collaborative Tommy Hilfiger collections in 2019]. But this one is me, which is really exciting. I still want to prove to myself that I can do it and do something that women want to wear and that will be hugely successful, fingers crossed. I waited to have something that felt right and authentic with a brand I know and love and trust.
Well, the styles look gorgeous and the fabric is so practically packable.
I love that you said ‘packable,’ because these dresses look great when you pull them out of a suitcase and take them on vacation. You don’t have to worry about it.
I just really love women so much — all body types and heights — and I wanted to design a collection that felt universal.
You’ve talked about diving into the archives in 2017 during America’s Next Top Model but do you have any earlier memories or ‘wow’ moments with the brand?
Hervé has been iconic for so long. With me and my girlfriends, growing up, everybody wanted a pair of Louboutins and an Hervé dress. It was kind of like a uniform they wanted to celebrate their birthdays in or wear on first dates. I think the brand went through a tough patch for a while. I always want to go back to the beginning. What sparked my interest is that I was doing America’s Next Top Model with Tyra Banks, who was the ultimate Hervé girl, in my opinion, when it comes to the [early] shows — her personality and her ‘thing’ on those catwalks. So I kind of banked that. Not like, ‘Oh, I’m going to do an Hervé collection in five years.’ It was just there this whole time.
So when I got the call and the offer to do it, that’s where my inspiration started. I wanted to go back to that period of the brand in the ’90s. There are a couple of dresses that are heavily inspired by spring-summer ’97 — the bandage dresses with the silk charmeuse drape. And then the Hervé stripe is just iconic, so that is a really obvious inspiration.
How many pieces did you design before you narrowed it to 25?
You know what? To be honest with you, I didn’t even count. When [Hervé Léger creative director Christian Juul Nielsen] and I got in a room together, it was like magic. Literally, the way he thinks and sees things. It was a perfect collaboration. What I love about the brand is that there were no rules for me. They didn’t say, ‘We need this dress’ or ‘We need four black dresses.’
Christian was like, ‘Do whatever you want and we’re here to support you.’ I thought that was incredible, because they kind of handed over the brand. Even when I was doubting whether something would sell, they said, ‘Don’t worry about it, just follow your instincts.” I think my instincts are what got me to where I am in my career. And the fact that they just encouraged me, I’m forever grateful.
I wanted to be respectable and pay homage to the brand DNA and to the original designer, to this legacy they built. So there is a lot of the bandage. And with his collections, Christian has developed some other fabrications, so we play with those. He does this really cool thing with ribbon, and you’ll see that in the catsuit and the two-piece and the long gown.
So how did you originally connect for the collaboration?
No disrespect at all, but Hervé wasn’t on my radar like that. I got an email with this Hervé Leger lookbook and, to be honest, hesitantly opened it. And I was like, ‘Wow this is really good.’ I put one of the dresses, with this big floral-type sleeve, on Tiffany Haddish and styled it. And the dress sold out. So Hervé contacted me and said, ‘You styled this the absolute way we want to see it, and you also did it on a girl who wasn’t necessarily a sample size.’ Because at that point, Tiffany was maybe a size 8, which is a regular woman’s size. And I think that made a huge impact.
I put the dresses on Addison Rae and a couple of other clients. They said, ‘Wow, you posted it and people went on the site and bought the dress,’ so that was my first time understanding my influence. Then they reached out and asked if I would consider doing a small capsule with the brand. And I said, ‘Why not?’ Christian’s wealth of knowledge is incredible. I also wanted to go to a place where I could learn and grow as a creative director or designer.
It’s great when you find that synergy with another creative person. How did you land on the palette? It’s so pretty.
Thank you. I wanted a story that felt soft. There are a few really strong black pieces too because I feel like every girl needs a little black dress, so I wanted to do my version of what I think the little black dress is. It’s coming out in October. I wanted to feel like all the girls were going to Vegas or Miami for the holidays. I wanted to dress that girl. I love lavender and nude and then black and white are staples. So I wanted to do strong neutrals with a pop of pastel.
Did you have a mood board and other words you would use to describe the feeling?
I think the word is honestly just ‘womanhood,’ The feminine, female form is what I love. I love women who love being women. We all have that girlfriend who is not going out of the house without makeup. So my fantasy of who my girl is, she is that. She wants to be done at all times. She wants the glam, the hair and makeup, the jewels, she wants that dress. That’s the girl I created in my head and that’s who I created these clothes for. She’ll have three kids and a career and she’s still that girl. I love that.
Are you imagining your clients in certain pieces?
Yes, absolutely. Even if I don’t work with them anymore, I always take away something from my clients. There’s a dress that Zendaya has to wear. And Kerry Washington. All the girls are in the collection.
I wanted to create pieces that girls will want to wear over and over again. Like that black dress my mother had that she would wear to a wedding, a funeral, a date. It was that ‘go get my dress out of the closet’ dress. I loved that, because clothes should have a life, right? We’ve gotten to a place I think, because of social media, that once you wear it, you can’t be photographed again in it. And I think that’s just so unfair. Hopefully one day, somebody’s daughter will want to wear the dress and it becomes that thing. That’s what I was striving for. I just wanted people to love these clothes.