West Hollywood, CA
I was flipping through the guest informant book at my Los Angeles hotel when I crashed headfirst into the article "Styling Stars: Clothes Encounters with Top Hollywood Stylist Rachel Zoe" by Vicki Jo Radovsky. I read about Zoe and about how far she's come from her job as fashion assistant at YM magazine 13 years ago. I read about how all four salespeople at Sergio Rossi on Rodeo Drive stood at attention, attentive to her every move, when she turned up searching for shoes for Nicole Richie. I made it through Zoe's italics.
"I worship these!" ($1,400 black high-heeled suede boots with a jeweled flower at each ankle)
"These...are...beyond!" ($570 apricot metallic heels embellished with paillettes)
and, after the apricot metallic heels are found to be too big for Nicole's wee feet, "You can will it...I've made shoes fit."
Like someone who pokes a bruise to make sure it still hurts, I was ready to suffer though an account of Zoe staring down the pailletted heels, eyes narrowing in menace, when a pair in Nicole's size were found at another Rossi store and, crisis averted, Richie got up to leave, prompting a parting "Love you!" from Zoe.
Then the writer starts kissing ass big time, "Zoe, a tanned blond with perfectly tousled hair tumbling down her back, is in full-on L.A. tart-up mode."
I'm pretty sure that in LA being called a tart is a compliment.
Vicki Jo continues: she's bohemian chic, her black halter top is down-to-there - WHERE, VICKI JO, WHERE - a thick gold chain emphasizes barely-there size-0 hips, matte gold disc earrings tickle her shoulders, and her upper arm is as slim as a child's wrist. She's an ultra-lean styling machine.
Vicki Jo, Vicki Jo, VICKI MOTHERF'ING JO. I'm not 13-years-old and I'm not trying to pore over a Sweet Valley High or Judy Blume book, though you write as if I were. And if I were, that would mean I was still in those vulnerable teen years when self image is impressionable and eating disorders might still seem glamorous or worth it and YOU WOULD NOT BE HELPING.
I don't give a shit that Zoe doesn't have time to eat or take bathroom breaks during her workday. It must suck to be Zoe, all backed up with whatever crumbs she snuck into her starving barely-there body.
I do think it's kind of cool that Zoe has been able to collect vintage Halston, Chloe, Pucci and Yves Saint Laurent since she was 13. That's very fortunate. I'm not anti-style. I'd like to think that we all can, if we want, develop our own style to express ourselves. But that's not necessarily the same thing as fashion.
I'm not going to pretend that it didn't take me three weeks to pack for these three months that I'm living out of a suitcase. I will openly admit that I laid in bed for several nights imagining the perfect combination of shoes to bring. And I actually did lose sleep over the matter of how to best accomplish form AND function.
And I did almost break down when I thought I didn't have the right suitcase to hold my near-fait accompli. My mom suggested I look through the catalog of things to trade in for my credit card points and, not understanding that she meant there were suitcases to choose from, I shrieked, "I don't need a fucking toaster oven!"
Mom, sorry about that.
But I'm not exactly sympathetic to the glories of emaciation or tales of things gone awry during Zoe's long days, things like having to crawl under a model's gown to hold it straight for the photographer since it wasn't hanging right or dressing a red carpet client in sheer white right before a major rainstorm. As I'd say growing up in Ohio, "Big whoop."
Or even more horrific: her traveling so often between New York, London, and the Bahamas that she can't remember what coast she's on or remember to take a vacation for herself. The tears I shed are not tears for Zoe's hardships, they are tears for the people who look up to Zoe.
Says Zoe, "Even though (fashion) is trivial and superficial, I liken this job to being a doctor. You need patience, TLC and a high threshold to deal with so many types of personalities and give a hundred percent to all your clients. It definitely helps that I was a sociology/psychology major!"
I need a drink.