If there is one diva who has earned the right to rest of her laurels “on and on”, its Céline Dion. In July, the singer emerged out of hiatus in Paris during the Haute Couture Fashion Week. And like a phoenix out of the ashes, she blindsides the paparazzi-packed venues with her dazzling looks. Fashion world wasn’t quite ready or knew what to make of its wayward icon. Internet is abuzz with #Dionaissance!
Social media has been less a serious business platform for Dion and more of a play-thing as she graced those Vogue editorial videos dominating the Ritz-Carlton kitchen in Maison Margiela outfit or playing the air-violin in a vine of Angel’s Breath wearing custom Rodarte. Dion has 1.7 million followers on Instagram; a respectable number, but underwhelming given her star magnitude. She is becoming a fixture of Millennial pop culture as the digital generation discovers her self-deprecating sense of humor and outlandish fashion sense. Just check out the unofficial meme account @CelineDionDoingThings if you need proof that Dion is hilarious as she is brave with her style choices.
Following the loss of her husband and manager, René Angélil, in January 2016, Dion retreated from the limelight to focus on her grief. Later in May, she was honored with the Icon Award at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards. She delivered a heart-wrenching powerhouse rendition of Freddie Mercury’s Show Must Go On. The message was clear, neon Vegas style. Luckily, that night proved more than a touching moment for her fans but a collision of kindred fashion spirits that would bring forth a new era for Celine. Law Roach, celebrity stylist and television personality, reportedly approached Dion in her dressing room that night and the two had a tête-à-tête conversation about life. The following day, Dion asked Roach to jet to Paris with her. The two got to work on making sure her first fashion week appearance in years would hit streetstyle bull’s eye. A year later Dion has rekindled her affair with the fashion world and Roach has cemented his position as a (stylish) household name being one of the judges on America’s Next Top Model.
#Dionaissance is a term coined by New York Magazine’s style outlet The Cut. Think back to the infamous John Galliano backwards white tuxedo Dion wore to the 1999 Oscars to acknowledge the kind of fearlessness she’s channeled for decades. Roach masterfully tapped into the mass 90’s nostalgia to remind us just how much Céline has impacted the 90’s with her hits and videos. Social media went into uproar when Dion stepped out wearing the Titanic sweater by Vetements. You bet you remember all the words to My Heart Will Go On whether or not you admit to it! Reaching the satisfying full circle of their year-long fashion world take-down, Roach dressed Dior in the Stéphane Rolland angelic dress to honor the 20th anniversary of the megahit at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards. It was over the top, monumental, epic. “If someone asked me if there was a dress that embodied who Celine was, it would have to be that dress,” Roach told WWD.
Roach is an astute curator for image rather than just a stylist. He began his career as a vintage shop owner in New York and Chicago becoming a go-to consultant for stars and fellow stylists. “I didn’t come from anybody’s lineage, I was never someone’s intern, I wasn’t in ‘the system’ so I didn’t have any structure. I didn’t know what was politically correct, what was right and wrong,” Roach explained to fashionista.com. His choices for Dion reveal the unapologetic personality of the legend herself, the theatricality and charisma she exudes even at a darker time of her life. Building on these foundations, they brought back the life-goes-on attitude so many love about Dion.
And as the year progresses, social media feeds are only heating up with this fierce resurgence. Thanks in part to Roach’s eye and encouragement, Dion proves her best style moments are yet to come. We are all here for it!
by Isabella Urbina, Academy of Art University Fashion Journalism