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Who the hell is Rachel Zoe?

September 30, 2009

L-A: Maybe it’s because I’m Canadian without access to the American Bravo network (actually, I don’t even have the Canadian Bravo), but this Rachel Zoe character appeared out of the fashion ether one day and I had no idea who she was or why she was famous.  The Fug Girls love her. Auntie Fashion calls her BeelZoeBub™. So I gave the guest bloggers an assignment and asked the question:

Who the hell is Rachel Zoe?

Ange: Good question.

What I know about Rachel Zoe: Very little. I’m not even sure whether I like her or not. She’s one of those people who elicits in me a sort of skeptical distance. I think I look at Ms. Zoe (pronounced Zoh, apparently) with the same kind of head-tilt L-A applied all those shoes. She has to be smart, riding the wave of pseudo-celebrity that also carries some of her clients, in this case to a book deal, a TV show, a clothing line (quel surprise), and on.

I do find her vaguely amusing. I like listening to her Valley girl voice, and the things that come out of her mouth can be hilarious. I feel like if I read an interview with myself, I would end up having said things that are equally ridiculous. My favourite from this New York Times profile: “I wish caffeine had vitamins in it.” So do I, Rachel, so do I. Still, after putting myself into Ms. Zoe’s world, I feel a little like I might after an Venti ultra-non-fat extra-sweet caramel machiatto (with an extra shot and a vitamin chaser). Not ashamed, no. I wouldn’t even feel ashamed after the whole milk version I am actually likely to consume. But a little queasy. The rest of my day will be a little bit off kilter, and I’ll need to eat some protein and some fibre to get back to normal. In cultural terms, watching (and reading about) Rachel Zoe keeps me momentarily entranced, but I then feel the need to go read some Kierkegaard or something to feel balanced again. Okay, that is a massive overstatement. I would probably actually read O Magazine or watch an episode of 30 Rock, but I think you know what I mean.

Forgetting Rachel Zoe as a character and a brand, what about the fashion? I thought I knew, and sort of liked, what Rachel Zoe represented style-wise. I had this picture in my head of a sort of layered, casual bohemian, nouveau-rock look from her still friends with Nicole Richie heyday.


I think this photo is probably post-Richie/Zoe breakup – but this is the kind of thing I was picturing.

Then I saw some of Zoe’s actual outfits.

Not good, my friends.


Okay. At first I saw this and saw the colour and thought: ew. But the layered necklaces are sort of pretty. But then I looked down. This is a harem panted jumpsuit. If this were black, or midnight blue, or some rich, sophisticated colour, I might not be opposed. I am not, on principle, opposed to jumpsuits (yet). But it is a harem panted jumpsuit in a colour I can only describe as cat-vomit beige. I’m sorry for that. But it’s true.

Milla looks cute, though (I just accidentally typed culte. I think this should be a word.)



I feel like I wore something like this when I went to 60s Daze at my elementary school circa 1995. Is it a costume of some kind? Is she trying to be a superhero whose outfit is made out of rec room upholstery? I don’t get it. At all.



Okay, no. Sweater dresses = yes. Giant wad of chewed gum in fuzzy wool form = no.



Um. Dear Rachel, I have heard conflicting reports about your actual age, but so far none of them have said 87. Please dress accordingly. Love, Angela.

All of these photos were taken at fashion shows, so I honestly started wondering if there was a rule for people attending fashion shows like the one for bridesmaids – never upstage the bride (and/or models). I’ve asked. There isn’t.

L-A (again): Okay, Ange killed it in this post. I don’t even think I need to add anything. But I will.

I’m still a little lost on the appeal of the Zoe. At least based on her own fashion sense. That  last dress? I die. And not in a good Rachel Zoe way.  I did watch the first and last episodes of the first season and I was definitely entertained by her assistants Brad and Taylor. Also, it’s really funny to watch Tay and Zoe eating a meal indoors with their sunnies on. She also sounds like she has an orgasm when she is shopping. “oh. Oh! OH! I DIE!”  Basically, she is amusing.

But while I’m a bit confused by The Zoe’s individual star power, she does know how to do a red carpet. Mostly.  Out of  her eight current A-list clients listed on The Wikipedia, seven are fugged on Go Fug Yourself. Anyway, here are some Zoe hits and misses.

Hits it (without making them into a Zoebot)


Well-played with this red carpet look.


Lovely, except I know that this wasn’t what The Zoe would have chosen for Jen Garner. Jen and Ben liked this best out of the choices they were given. (I learned that in episode six of the Rachel Zoe Project).


The colour has me on the fence, but I think I like it. I am seriously on the fence about the following:


I’m just not that into this dress. The Zoe loved it, but I wonder if it’s an almost miss because this is from the day when Brad didn’t leave her a kit and there was no tape or shoe pads. Maybe he also bunched the dress up into the back of his car.

Now for the complete misses:


Who would do that to a client? The same person who would do this:


Whaaaaa? Maybe it was a one time mistake.


Dear God. It’s a ruffle explosion. I think the mutant ruffles actually ate one Kate’s arms.
So, verdict? No idea. I know who she is, I know she definitely has moments of styling genius, but she also created the Boho Zoebot look, so I’m not sure I can forgive her for that. Or for her orange tan. Someone needs to cut off Zoe’s  tanning.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 1, 2009 9:37 am

    I hate to admit that I think she is kind of fabulous… but there you go… love her. The 70s boho thing is lovely and works great on some people (i.e. Nicole), but she also works formal wear like nuts… see Anne Hathaway (her Oscar look this year was AMAZING), Demi Moore, Debra Messing, Jennifer Garner, Cameron Diaz… all these ladies tend to look awesome on the red carpet.

  2. October 1, 2009 9:48 am

    I didn’t know who she was before last month. But I like her show.

  3. Sarah permalink
    October 1, 2009 12:19 pm

    Cat-vomit beige? Awesome, you made my day :D

    • October 1, 2009 12:35 pm

      “Giant wad of chewed gum in fuzzy wool form” made mine…

      • L-A permalink*
        October 1, 2009 2:36 pm

        The whole post was a stroke of genius. Big time golf claps to Ange.

        • thenewisthetrue permalink
          October 4, 2009 10:34 am

          Thanks lovelies.

          And I have to say, Anne Hathaway almost always looks amazing. But how much of that is RZ and how much of it is AH’s own taste and style coming through? I wonder this, when it comes to stylists and celebrities.

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