Zendaya does everything with style, so when she became the youngest performer ever to earn Best Actress honors at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, she did so in a stellar series of looks that set the internet alight. Christopher John Roger’s moire and silk taffeta fall/winter 2020 gown dress kicked things off as she presented a moment from Issa Rae’s Insecure, then she quickly changed into a custom Armani Privé polka-dot skirt for her big win. Both outfits spoke to her status as a daring style star and the spirited fun of 2020s virtual ceremony. For image architect Law Roach, the night’s fashion choices were especially meaningful. As the man behind Zendaya’s enviable wardrobe, Roach has been a constant in her life since her days as a Disney Channel star. To see her pick up a richly deserved award for her work on HBO’s cerebral teen drama, Euphoria, marked a turning point. “I’m so proud of my little girl, who is now a full-grown woman,” Roach remarked on the phone from Los Angeles.
The selection process for the evening was surprisingly simple. While in the audience for Roger’s fall/winter 2020 collection, Roach saw the moire and silk dress and knew immediately that Zendaya was the right client for the piece. “I texted Christopher right after the show and said ‘please hold that for Zendaya,’” he says. “We’d been waiting for the moment to work with Christopher. He held that dress all this time just for her, and I thought that was such a beautiful [gesture] because I know they get tons of requests.”
Bulgari’s High Jewelry collection completed the look, with diamond earrings and a trio of blingy white gold and diamond rings. If that wasn’t sparkly enough, the statement necklace featuring seven giant cushion-cut amethysts, rubellites, and emeralds proved a showstopper. “It was so beautiful and modern,” says Roach. “Normally Zendaya isn’t a necklace girl; this might be the first time we’ve ever done such a substantial necklace for the red carpet or an awards show. It was just so beautiful in person. It brought out everything within the dress, and there was just a great flow between the outfit and accessories.”
Already in talks with the team at Armani for last year’s Golden Globes, Roach had the crystal and pearl bandeau top and matte weave ballgown skirt waiting in the wings. “She didn’t end up going to the Globes, so the dress was waiting for its moment, and what a moment it became,” he says. “It all just worked; the skirt, the top, the earrings that matched the pink polka dots, everything was there.”
The virtual nature of the ceremony meant Zendaya got to share her win with the important people in her life, including Roach. The award’s history-making significance was only revealed post-event, but the room’s excitement was overwhelming all the same. “There was just a roar when her name was called,’ says Roach. “The whole room, her entire family yelling. She did it at home, and all that love was right there in the room with her. That’s what made it such a special moment.”