“I have this obsession with what women wear in Russia,” said Rachel Zoe, as she fluffed an ivory fur hood atop a mile-high model wrapped head to toe in Zoe’s fall collection. “The funny thing is that I don’t know because I’ve never been there. But it’s what I dream about.”
As anyone who has followed Zoe’s rise from Jersey girl to Los Angeles stylist to television star to brand now knows, she’s not one to sit back and imagine the possibilities. She makes them happen, which is why her sprawling, semi-raw showroom on the 32nd floor of 1400 Broadway in New York is filled with a staff of at least 10, as well as her 10-month-old son, a nanny, a publicist and, of course, racks and racks of samples from the Rachel Zoe Collection, which, for fall, includes two new categories: cold weather accessories and costume jewelry. All that’s missing is a camera crew. “We’re not filming, which is major,” said Zoe, referring to her Bravo television show “The Rachel Zoe Project,” which as of yet has not been renewed for season five.
The jewelry is a no-brainer. It’s been a key component in Zoe’s look since the public first laid eyes on her circa 2004 when she was in her Bohemian phase, decked in big sunglasses, a floor-length caftan, with multiple vintage cocktail rings on her fingers. “I’m a hand-talker, so that’s what this is about,” said Zoe, holding up a ring. All Art Deco-inspired, the collection is done in gold-plated brass, with Swarovski crystals, reconstituted jade and onyx. There’s a tassel group that includes cuffs, earrings and a long necklace that can be tied a multitude of ways. Another series, which she’s calling “Love Me Knots,” features intertwining knots on hoop earrings, a cuff and necklace. Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman have already secured the exclusive on the launch of the jewelry, which is priced between $195 and $695, opting to sell the line in all of its doors and online.
The cold weather gear is not yet open to market. It includes hats, hoods, long skinny scarves lined in cashmere and fingerless leather gloves (long and short, some in quilted green leather, others in pony hair), along with hats, scarves, stoles and wrist warmers done in real — fox and rabbit — and faux fur. Zoe wanted to appeal to both those who have a moral (and budget) issue with fur and those who want the real deal. As for her decision to broach these winter accessories ($95-$1,500), Zoe said, “I’m someone who looks at my brand holistically. I go to style my show and I’m like, ‘I want hats. I want gloves. I want all these things. Okay, wait, I’m a designer now, so let’s do it.’”
A lot has happened since Zoe launched her collection, done in partnership with Li & Fung, a year ago. Ready-to-wear, shoes and bags were included from the get-go, all of it priced well within the contemporary market. If anyone was skeptical that a personality like Zoe could pull off product at a more elite level than mass — which she has covered with her QVC line — her retail presence is evidence to the contrary. Zoe’s collection is currently carried by about 250 stores worldwide, including Neiman Marcus, Saks, Selfridges and Nordstrom. Rick Darling, president of LF USA, said that the reception has exceeded expectations. “I think every brand has its own momentum. In the contemporary space, which is a bit newer to us as a company, I think this particular brand has taken off a lot quicker than we thought,” said Darling, who declined to give sales figures. “It’s really well ahead of where we thought we would be right now. In 2012, we’ll be in 350 to 400 doors, including a pretty significant international presence.”
That and the fact that Neiman Marcus swooped in for an exclusive is testament to the collection’s quality and execution, which is in tandem with Zoe’s name recognition factor, due in large part to her television show. Asked what the impact on her business would be if “The Rachel Zoe Project” does not return for a fifth season, Zoe said, “Honestly, you could tell me that better than I could. It’s been four seasons, it’s in 20 countries. Businessmen watch it, bankers, I get a lot of hits from a lot of different demos. So do I need it? I don’t know. After four years, maybe there’s something to be said for starting something new.”
Speaking of, in addition to RachelZoe.com, her various digital newsletters and her styling business, Zoe said she’s getting into the television producing game. “Rachel Zoe Productions,” she revealed. “But I can’t talk about that yet.”
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)