How she gets dressed in the morn­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FASHION - By CARO­LINE LEAPER

Law Roach, Cé­line Dion’s stylist, has had a busy week. Dion is cur­rently em­bark­ing on the French leg of her world tour, and it hap­pened to co­in­cide with the duo’s favourite time of year on the fash­ion cal­en­dar, Paris Cou­ture Week.

Over the last five days, there­fore, Dion has re­quired a wardrobe of epic pro­por­tions, op­er­at­ing out of a spe­cial dress­ing suite in her ho­tel, the five star Royal Mon­ceau. She has been spot­ted on the front rows at Dior, Gi­ambat­tista Valli and more, as well as blog­ging her outfits for Amer­i­can Vogue un­der the hash­tag #Cé­lineTakesCou­ture.

A sneak peak into my work room in Paris ... this is where I get to play dress up with Madame ... @ce­line­dion wear­ing Dior #styled­byme #fLAW­less #ce­line­dion A post shared by Law Roach (@lux­u­ry­law) on Jul 5, 2017 at 5:42am PDT

“The clothes you see in the pic­ture are all her clothes, she comes to this room to get dressed ev­ery day with me,” Roach tells The Tele­graph of the daily se­lec­tion process that takes place in their “work shop”, a bou­tique-like room that’s packed full of de­signer shoes, Her­mes bags in ev­ery colour, and sam­ple pieces from her own up­com­ing fash­ion col­lec­tion, ready to be road-tested. “She comes down in the morn­ing, we greet each other, and then based on her mood we’ll choose her out­fit for the day.”

“I’ve been work­ing with her for a year now so I kind of know what she’s in the mood for — she’ ll give me an im­pres­sion that she’s think­ing jeans, or some­thing re­ally cool and re­laxed, or some days she’ ll want to be more dressed up. It de­pends on the weather, and what she did last night!”

Dion con­tacted Roach for the first time just over a year ago, stat­ing that she loved the way he worked with an­other of his clients, the 21 year-old Dis­ney ac­tress Zen­daya. Hav­ing re­cently lost both her hus­band and her brother to can­cer, a fresh im­age un­doubt­edly con­trib­uted to her fresh start, and Dion be­gan to have a lot of fun with fash­ion, ex­per­i­ment­ing with new de­sign­ers and bold sil­hou­ettes to be­come, for many, a new muse.

“She was go­ing through a lot of tragedy and, these are her words, the dresses and the bags and these lighter mo­ments have helped her with her re­cov­ery,” Roach told us ear­lier in the year. The pair’s first flirt with cou­ture came last sum­mer, when Dion was seen whoop­ing on the front row at Gi­ambat­tista Valli

at­tends the Gi­ambat­tista Valli Haute Cou­ture Fall/Win­ter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Cou­ture Paris Fash­ion Week on July 3, 2017 in Paris.

— rais­ing a smile from even the most stoic of fash­ion crit­ics. “Be­yond any­thing else, it’s just enough for me that this amaz­ing woman has had a good time and that I could help in any way with her heal­ing process.”

Hav­ing es­tab­lished cou­ture as their stomp­ing ground, it was only nat­u­ral that Roach and Dion would go big­ger this year. This week, Dion was ar­guably the best dressed celeb- rity at Dior, wear­ing a but­ter yel­low leather shirt dress with rock­star mir­rored glasses. Mean­while, at Gi­ambat­tista Valli she wore a ditsy ruf­fled minidress with suede thigh high boots and stole the show.

In more ca­sual mo­ments she wore a cobalt track­suit by New York’s coolest streetwear la­bel, Off White (“she was just tak­ing her twins shop­ping,” says Roach) as well as an em­bel­lished Gucci coat and emer­ald trousers to pop out for lunch.

“The Gucci is very much a new side of her, this ex­per­i­ment with sil­hou­ette and em­bel­lish­ment,” says Roach. “I can lit­er­ally bring Cé­line any sil­hou­ette, any colour and she will want to see it on. Some things just don’t work, that’s the na­ture of fash­ion, but she’s never afraid to find out.”

“It’s never planned, though, we al­ways go with what res­onates on the day.”

On a hot Sun­day in Paris re­cently, Paul Smith was back­stage jug­gling a rub­ber fish. The fish was the in­vi­ta­tion to his SS18 fash­ion show start­ing within the hour and he was an­tic­i­pat­ing the front row look­ing daft as they used them to fan them­selves un­der the glass-roofed gym of the Ly­cée Carnot. “It’ll ei­ther be bril­liant or I’ll be hid­ing,” he said.

Sir Paul, 70, is not like other de­sign­ers. He wears his ec­cen­tric­ity well. Like his fa­mous suits, he comes tai­lored with a twist and over 47 years he’s made a se­ri­ous and suc­cess­ful busi­ness out of it. He sells his clothes in over 70 coun­tries, with 39 stores world­wide and hun­dreds of global fran­chises. Al­though turnover dipped un­der £300 mil­lion in 2015, light­heart­ed­ness is still stitched into the DNA of the brand. “With the mood we’re get­ting from a lot of coun­tries at the mo­ment, it’s im­por­tant to be pos­i­tive,” he said.

In Paris, he was show­ing next spring’s men’s and women’s col­lec­tions to­gether for the sec­ond time (pre­vi­ously wom­enswear was shown at Lon­don Fash­ion Week). A lot of ex­per­i­men­ta­tion is tak­ing place in fash­ion houses right now but that blend­ing makes sense for Smith. He be­lieves it’s hav­ing a pos­i­tive ef­fect on his de­sign. “What’s in­ter­est­ing is that pre­vi­ously the women’s had a strong mas­cu­line feel to it,” he said. “And it still has that sense with suits and tai­lor­ing, but now I’m adding more dresses and fem­i­nine pieces so that the two stand out from each other.” This col­lec­tion called Ocean — hence the rub­ber fish in­vite, the surfer san­dals and a kitsch tinned fish la­bel mo­tif — emerged, like so many of Smith’s de­signs, from his love of print, specif­i­cally the Aloha shirt. “At the be­gin­ning of my ca­reer, I used to buy van-loads of vin­tage Hawai­ian shirts from Amer­ica and sell them to kids from Sh­effield and Manch­ester, so I was think­ing about that. We’re quite fa­mous for our print now,” he added, in his typ­i­cal unas­sum­ing style. “We have about 20 in-house de­sign­ers for print alone. And then we’ve got all the op­ti­mistic colour too.”

It made for an in­fec­tiously cheery col­lec­tion, en­hanced by a fi­nale that swung along to the sound of The Bea­tles’ Oc­to­pus’s Gar­den. The vin­tage prints of those shirts tran­si­tioned in de­grees — just vis­i­ble as a flash of sun­shine yel­low un­der a stream­lined trouser suit in black and blue, onto mid-length shirt dresses and a drawstring skirt, patch­worked into a silk dress — “easy peasy, pock­ets, side zip, no non­sense” and less no­tice­ably as the drawn thread­work pat­tern on scar­let and black slip dresses. Show­er­proof out­er­wear in rip­stock per­for­mance fab­ric were smoth­ered in flow­ers and worn with surfer san­dals. “It’s got that mas­culin­ity in terms of the fab­ric but the fem­i­nin­ity of the op­ti­mistic print. Sports­wear is so im­por­tant now. Peo­ple are feel­ing happy wear­ing track­suit bot­toms and a blazer. That’s where it is at the mo­ment.”

There was a new ease in all of this mak­ing Paul Smith wom­enswear feel right for now. Hav­ing of­ten strug­gled in the shadow of the vastly suc­cess­ful menswear col­lec­tions, it’s look­ing con­fi­dent again.

Smith said that “be­ing num­ber one or too trendy” has put him in good stead. While he’s been knocked by the ef­fect of ter­ror­ism in Paris — a 26 per cent de­crease in tourist shop­ping can’t but be a blow when you have five stores in the city — he be­lieves the com­pany is in a strong po­si­tion to face the changes in re­tail and the eco­nomic un­cer­tainty of Brexit. “As a com­pany, I’m blessed with be­ing in­de­pen­dent. I’m still the boss, we own most of our build­ings, we’re very odd in that we’ve got no bor­row­ings,” he said. “And we don’t have greedy share­hold­ers ask­ing for more, more, more.”

This year he will open new stores in Manch­ester, Copenhagen and Ber­lin. The Manch­ester one will be “posh be­cause it’s near Cé­line”, but the other two will be what he’s call­ing neigh­bour­hood stores. “They’re in cool ar­eas of town, very small. We’ve opened a lit­tle one in the Marais here in Paris [there are five Paul Smith shops in Paris] and it’s been in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar be­cause it’s tiny, the staff live in the area, they know a lot of the cus­tomers. They have con­ver­sa­tions. I like that. It’s an hon­est way to do busi­ness.”

That hon­esty is some­thing he’s proud of. “Be­cause I started the busi­ness my­self at some point I’ve done ev­ery­thing — packed the boxes, sold the col­lec­tion, done the win­dow dress­ing, driven the van and put on the shows with just me and my wife hem­ming all the trousers,” he said. “When you’ve had that more rounded ex­pe­ri­ence it helps you know your busi­ness and it keeps you down to earth.”

And as the in­ter­na­tional fash­ion press be­gan to gather on the benches on the other side of the stage, he handed over his rub­ber fish and got back to work again.


Cé­line Dion


A model walks the run­way dur­ing the Paul Smith Menswear show in Paris.

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