An Afternoon With Rachel Zoe

Living in the same city as the Nordstrom country flagship and corporate headquarters certainly has its perks – frequently celebrities and designers make scheduled in-store appearances. This past Wednesday afternoon Charlotte had the privilege of attending Rachel Zoe’s presentation of looks from her Fall 2012 collection. For those of you who missed it or simply do not live in Seattle, here is the recap of both the event and the collection.

It seemed that the buzz of fashionistas heard around Seattle the past week was “what are you wearing to Rachel Zoe?” The answer yesterday proved to be everything from flip flops and floral prints to Louboutins and leather. A crowd of about 200 dressed up in their personal interpretations of their fashionable finest and stood in anticipation, making comments such as “I made sure to wear the most expensive thing in my wardrobe today – my YSL!” and swapping Rachel-rumors along the lines of “oh my God. She, like, gave birth in Chanel.” Side conversations did not drown out Nordstrom’s strange musical choices – Weezer’s “Hash Pipe” and Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” hardly seemed to match the tone of the designer-decked divas.

After an introduction by the company’s Regional Director of Designer (fashionably late by just a few minutes) Zoe took the stage. While looking positively stick-like on television, I was surprised to find the phrase “the camera adds ten pounds” to still ring true for her, but it did; though it seems impossible she is even tinier in person! She began by thanking the audience, saying in a very professional manner how incredibly grateful and appreciative she is of all her fans. Without further delay, she then began a small mini-runway walk of her fall collection.

This gorgeous sequin dress on the left is a piece not currently in store, as it will be featured on one of Zoe’s celebrity clients. It was not disclosed who, when, or where, though there were ripples of “red carpet” whispers through the crowd. Picking up on this, the Regional Director made the point, “where else would you wear all that sparkle?” to which Zoe replied without missing a beat, “Whole Foods!” This is amusing considering she quite literally would. She also pointed out with this dress that a one-shoulder silhouette is a great look on all body types, and that it was her lifesaver while pregnant.

Along with sequins, jumpsuits were another trend, which when pointed out verbally to Zoe, she assured us that if we stop seeing sequins and jumpsuits, it can only mean she is dead. I do not think Rachel would need 50 words to describe what “le coeur de la vie” means to her like Morgan and I did in our recent posts. Simply “SEQUINS AND JUMPSUITS” might sum it up for her.

The middle look is a silk print that appears multiple times throughout the collection. Yesterday she showed us a longer, sleeveless version; a gown that retails close to $500 but that she spends the day lounging around the house in. The pattern is her take on leopard print – she wanted to put a unique spin on it that included more edge, color, and brightness than the cliche leopard we are accustomed to seeing. This print succeeds fabulously because it is bold in itself but subtle in its reference – a mark of true innovation.

Zoe was quite enamored with this third look in the above trio and had all sorts of phrases to describe it. “Fall-winter chicness.” “It’s Peter Pan. “A little Red Riding Hood moment.” Though she may not have been able to make up her mind about the inspiration, the audience was quite decisive that they were hug fans of it, myself included. The dark green color and oversized pockets are wonderful ideas, and the definition from the cinched waist completes the piece.

Another key piece seen multiple times throught the collection was minidresses. Short silhouettes styled with knee high boots and fur such as the looks seen above appeared multiple times on the full runway show. Rachel’s selection to show us at the mini Nordstrom show included middle look with the leather jacket, which she explained is her “homage to eccentricity” (though personally I found this look less eccentric than some of the oversized dyed furs). While she herself likes to style it solely with the purple tights, she admitted if the short hem was too daring that it could also work well with skinny jeans or even denim flares.

This minidress silhouette makes sense considering much of the line was inspired by the late 1960s in London, which is exactly when and where Mary Quant first introduced the miniskirt. Zoe pulled a great deal of inspiration from musicians Marianne Faithful and Mick Jagger whose stylish relationship spanned 1966-1970. All in all, this combination of three of my favorite things – London, music, and style – as well as the collection as a whole and Rachel’s spunk and excitement…well…let’s just say, “I DIE.”

Click here to shop the collection.

Photos via style.com.

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