Now Rachel Zoe, the uber-stylist to Young Hollywood, is a controversial dame in the sense that the press have ripped into her numerous times for allegedly popularising the size zero, big fuck-O glasses and huge-bag look which paparazzi shots of La Lohan and Co out on coffee runs helped turn iconic.
But people forget that before Zoe hit the Hollywood scene, there was no such thing as a covetable LA day-time look. It was all about juicy couture or dressing up to the nines back then. Zoe updated and re-packaged (using all the great style references from the 70’s pool scene) and put the LA-look back on the fashion lexicon.
Suddenly everyone loved the Jet-Set-Gypsy style she made famous and her clients went from fashion blah to fashionista du jour faster than you could steam an asparagus. Whereas editors tended to profile London and NYC streetstyle in magazine look-books – thanks to Zoe, the LA day-time look became the one to watch.
But then her clients started losing lots of weight and gaining lots of column inches for the wrong reasons, whihch triggered a vicious backlash against Zoe. In my opinion, I think they all lost weight because they could not handle all the pressure theire new-found fashionista status bestowed on them, as well as all the public dissecting of their look in magazines. That, and probably too much partying and general nerves. Having paparazzi following your every move is my idea of hell on earth, the pitts of misery. Having face time with people is hard enough.
The Asparagus Monologue
Anyway, back to the size zero controversy, I really don’t think it was Zoe telling her Zoebots:
"Listen to me you Hollywood skank, you can never be too thin or too rich, don’t you follow any of Coco Chanel’s life mottos? You were nothing before I came along and told you what arm to put a bangle on and how many millimetres from the elbow would work best for you - Do you want to go from O.C to fashion O.D? It’s not just food that has a sell by date you know sister- Now stick another asparagus on the steamer skank."
A case of sour grapes
Things turned more sour for Zoe when one of her clients, the former professional best friend of Paris Hilton: Nicole Ritchie, called her a “raisin face” and accused her of only “eating steamed asparagus” when they fell out a few years ago. I imagine that the attack stems from the fact that sun-worshipping Zoe likes to tan, but it is very rude to come out like that and diss someone so publicly, especially when they reinvented you as a fashionista and helped you escape from reality tv hell.
The revenge of the Zoebot
My first experience of the Zoebot look was back in 2006 or something when a Chelsea friend and I ended up in some bar in Chelsea for a drink and also to wait for her other Chelsea friend to join us so that they could both pop over to the Blue Bar.
When the other friend turned up – I was quite taken aback by the vision that walked in: all glamour and killer heels – a blonde in her mid thirties sporting a deep tan, expensive golden highlights, expertly tousled hair, as well as funky gold/pearl jewellery, finished off by white skinny jeans and a plunging strappy top. It looked much better than it sounds on paper.
Back then, nobody else looked that Hollywood or wore white jeans in London, apart from Liz Hurley in magazine.
Then as I flicked through magazines over the coming months I realised that she was actually sporting the Rachel Zoe look. Spurred on by that memory and also because I recently saw Zoe commenting on fashion styles on the DVD extra section of MAD MEN 2, I decided to purchase her style book Style A to Zoe: The Art of Fashion, Beauty, and Everything Glamour.
Which I read in about 2 hours, whilst watching Lost Season 5.
So what’s the verdict?
The verdict is that I did not realise how many great Oscar looks Rachel was responsible for. In fact, most of the looks she puts together for her A-list clients attending the Oscars and other red-capret chin digs are incredible – that is her forte. Super stylish, perfect accessories and an overall very glam, fresh and come-basque-in-my-Hollywood-success look.
You can also see how the people she styles for the Oscars know that they look good, and this comes across in the photographs. So the lady certainly is a great stylist, with a good eye, who excel’s in making her clients look like they have great taste.
However – that incredible skill of hers does not translate well in the book because the tone she adopts is a bit too condescending and alienating and I am surprised her publishers did not change things slightly to broaden the appeal of the book. In fact, the book feels like it has been written for potential A List clients as opposed to your everyday person. That’s my impression anyway.
In terms of what I have stored in my brain following the read:
**Drink a tall glass of water while you are putting on your make-up – is a good tip
**Accessories are good: but if Coco’s approach is take the last accessory you put on - off, what is Rachel’s mantra when it comes to knowing when to stop? This needs more clarification.
**Purchase more costume jewellery, preferably gold-looking . For a person like me who can take things into the excess zones when do I stop pilling it on? For example, in these shots dear reader, I pilled on the jewellery – but is this too much?
** Hide all cords and cables in your home, and put away electric goods in the kitchen (including steamer I imagine) - my man will think I am nuts if I hide the kettle.
** homogenise your clothes hangers, so they all look the same
**And that’s it.
So not a great deal. But I am not going to diss Zoe and her style book, because she gives good style.I think Zoe is cool.