Celine Dion had a secret weapon with her when she spent a month in Paris this summer — celebrity stylist Law Roach. Roach joined the singer in the French city for several weeks, styling her in fashion-forward looks day in and day out (i.e. the look above features a Lanvin coat, Saint Laurent bag and Balenciaga booties). By the time her stint in Paris was over, Roach did more than dress her in elegant outfits — he turned her into a bonafide street style star.
WATCH: Celine Dion’s New Stylist is Her Fashion Secret Weapon!
This fashion transformation couldn’t have come at a better time for the 48-year-old singer. After losing husband René Angélil to throat cancer in January and her older brother, Daniel, to cancer just two days after, Dion has had a painful year. “It’s not easy,” she told PEOPLE in May, but “I really, really want to prove to my kids their mother is strong.”
And one way she’s doing that is by letting herself have some fun. That’s where Roach comes in. “She’s really enjoying herself,” Roach tells PEOPLESTYLE over the phone, calling from Paris while on site with Dion last week for a story in this week’s issue (on newsstands everywhere Friday). “I know she’s enjoying herself and we’re enjoying each other because we tell each other every day. I’m here almost every day and it makes me so happy to see her so happy. If I had a small piece of [creating] that with the clothes and the fittings and the shoes and the bags, then I am overjoyed.”
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Her excitement over her look is clear — she walks out of her hotel in her high-fashion designs with a smile ear-to-ear. (Above, from left: Gucci; Dior; an Off-White coat, Céline sandals and bag and a Chloé scarf; and a Jil Sander coat and Gianvito Rossi boots.) “I think she’s really enjoying fashion and being out and being seen and getting photographed,” he says. When that happens, Roach knows his job is a success. “Fashion is the most interactive art form,” says Roach. “It’s nostalgic and it can take you to another place. If you feel beautiful and pretty, you can’t be sad and miserable. It’s just impossible.”
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Dion sought out Roach after discovering his work with actress and singer Zendaya Coleman, 19. “She liked that [Zendaya’s style] had some sophistication to it, and she liked it, so she Googled me,” says Roach. “She sought me out, which is really humbling. I mean, Celine is an icon.”
To him, Dion’s always been a fashion lover — let’s not forget when she wore the white tuxedo by John Galliano for Dior in 1999 backwards. “I loved that,” he says. “I was young, but I still remember that. People didn’t like it but because it was fashion-forward. They didn’t understand it. I almost talked about it one day [with her], but we got sidetracked. At one point I will!”
Now, it’s just his job to open up her eyes to new style possibilities. “She’s truly a fashion girl,” says Roach. “She’s seen everything and she’s seen the evolution of the outfits. She is truly a fashion girl. I was surprised to know that but then again I wasn’t surprised because she knows. And she’s fearless — she’s not afraid to wear any color, shape or brand. She’s excited about things that are new. It’s refreshing that she’s in her 40s and has no hesitation about fashion. It has been such a dream to work with her.” (Below, she’s in a floral Giambattista Valli jacket over a floral dress; a Fendi coat with a Fendi bag over a T-shirt and jeans; a Balmain coat and pants, Balenciaga bag and Le Silla boots; and an acid green Balenciaga dress and Saint Laurent jacket.)
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And every look he created for Dion was put together on a whim. “I’m not the person who will pull looks together and put them in a garbage bag and label them and send them to my clients,” he says. In fact, that’s why he created a whole wardrobe room for Dion in her hotel, so he can pick her outfits each day on the spot. For example, the head-to-toe gray look above was built solely around the hat.
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“We’ve been doing something a little bit more dressed up and then we’ve been doing things that are really, really chill, just depending on the mood we get in when we get in,” he says, noting her range spans from a Jill Sander yellow raincoat (useful) to a Dior leather pants (chic) to a Vetements sweatshirt emblazoned with an image of Jack and Rose from the Titanic (playful). “So when we get to the wardrobe room, it’s about the feeling. She’s a jeans and a T-shirt girl but also she also buys couture. So she has a really broad spectrum of things she likes. She proves you don’t have to be afraid of anything.”
His work with Dion includes experiences, too: The singer was recently spotted in the front row at Couture Fashion Week in Paris at shows like Giambattista Valli and Christian Dior (above at Dior). “That was my idea,” he says. “She didn’t come to Paris to go to Couture. But I said, it’s Couture Week, we should go to a couple of shows. She was like ‘I haven’t been to a fashion show in over 20 years! You’re dragging me out!’ She’s so funny. She’s hilarious. But couture is about fantasy, and I wanted her to be a part of it.”
For Roach, he says he got as much as he gave with this gig.. “I feel appreciated,” he shares. “It’s all such a blessing. She is one of the most human people I’ve met in my entire life. Like we were in our first fitting for three hours and I was trying to get a feel for her, and her a feel for me, and we ended up on the floor laughing. I thought, ‘I am on the floor with Celine Dion laughing my ass off!’ If the experience is over now, it would be an experience I will never forget.”
For more on our interview with the Roach about Dion’s new look, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE on newsstands everywhere Friday.
— Sharon Clott Kanter