The Rachel Zoe Recap: Rachel and Brad Confront Real Tragedy

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Photo: Courtesy of Bravo

Last night on The Rachel Zoe Project, Rachel and Brad finally freed themselves of the stinging relief and shameless glee, respectively, they felt after firing Taylor Jacobson. Because in this episode, Rachel and Brad had to free up emotional headspace — in the middle of New York Fashion Week, no less — to face two tragedies: the Haiti earthquake and Alexander McQueen’s death. This forces the two, who feel they have faced so many tragedies or near-tragedies in their careers as stylists, into an uncomfortable juxtaposition of their own perceived crises with the two at hand. So what do they do? Do they say, “Oh my God, we are so blessed to have everything that we have and do the work that we do?” and enjoy a sobering moment of what really and really doesn’t matter a whole lot in life? If they did, it wasn't on-camera. But they did continue to treat putting clothes on people like they’re curing cancer.

And while the earnestness in dressing models for Naomi Campbell’s show may have been perfectly fine for such a great charitable effort, Rachel seems more concerned with not letting Campbell do the work she was hired to do than helping earthquake victims. She and Brad seem to forget in their stress mess of dress wrangling that without that tragedy, there would be no fashion show. And now, the takeaways from last night’s episode. Use with caution.

Things We Learned About Fashion:
• Don’t go to Milan Fashion Week without a “new look.” Rachel, in trying to decide what hers is when she's packing, suggests it’s something involving “Chanel everything,” which sounds like her current day-to-day. So maybe “new look” is just something one talks about to make packing seem more exciting.
• People say things that don’t make sense when they’re around celebrities. Even Rachel, when she tells Gwen Stefani, “You know, I love myself in jumpsuits.”
• Styling fashion shows is very different from styling ads or red-carpet looks, says Rachel.
• No one says no to Naomi Campbell, even when she only gives you 72 hours to pull together 92 runway looks for her charity show to benefit Haiti earthquake victims. Although we find it terribly difficult to believe that the time crunch wasn’t fabricated for the show, and that Naomi really only would give Rachel that much time, since shows on the Fashion Week calendar are scheduled weeks in advance. Also, Naomi began selling tickets on February 5, a full week before the show.
• Styling Naomi Campbell’s fashion show is a remarkable feat to accomplish. No, really. “What we’re attempting to do is almost impossible,” Brad says, of dressing models to benefit victims of one of the worst tragedies of our time. “I might not make it to work because I might actually combust.”
• Why they coined the term “supermodels,” according to Rachel: “Because I feel like, through rain, sleet, and snow, they might show up.” Remember, Fashion Week began right after a terrible blizzard in February.
• If stylists can’t find enough clothes for people, the plan B is always to make them go naked. Rachel says repeatedly that she and Brad don’t have enough clothes, so “apparently they’re all going naked.” Well, that would certainly raise money.
• Brad has a leopard-print sweater, which is exactly the sort of thing someone who works for Rachel Zoe should wear. You tell us: Did it look too much like pajamas or was that part of its charm?
• Naomi Campbell is like that geometry teacher you had in high school who always called you the wrong name, even though she reads it every single day, probably multiple times. She thinks Brad’s name is “Brian.”
• Naomi Campbell gets what Naomi Campbell wants even at the cost of doing it herself. When Rachel tells her “there’s a shoe shortage,” Naomi gets on the phone with someone named “Christian,” most probably as in “Louboutin,” immediately, and scolds Rachel for not asking for her help sooner.
• Fashion Week doesn’t lend itself to fashion-y eating habits. “Is Fashion Week going to make me fat? Like fatshion week?” Brad asks Rachel. “Basically I spend hours not eating and then I eat like a steak and appetizer and dessert.” Rachel notes that wherever they were coming from didn’t have “any nuts or nibbles.” Brad absolutely ingeniously states, “The only nuts were the people wearing the clothes,” which is pretty much true of every Fashion Week event.
• No matter what Naomi Campbell says, clothes in her show should not go in alphabetical order, but from casual to formal, says Rachel.
• When news of Alexander McQueen’s death broke during Fashion Week, the industry was in tears. Rachel says she can’t even look at his shoes. But some eyes, like Brad's, stayed dry. He says, “I met him in Greece in Mykonos. I’m glad I had my little McQueen moment.”
• The McQueen tribute in Naomi’s show was beautiful and sad.
• Models don’t remember what looks they’re supposed to wear. Brad says half of them wear the wrong thing. So stylists = babysitters.

Things We Learned About Life:
• Don’t share a suitcase, and bring as much stuff as you can when you travel. Rodger wants to share suitcases with Rachel when they pack for Fashion Week, but Rachel refuses to share with him. “Packing with Rachel is complete hell,” Rodger says. “There’s no way to sugarcoat this — it sucks.” Then buy a normal piece of luggage and wheel it on the plane like a real man, bro!
• Sleep in what you wear, but not literally. Rachel’s bed is decked out in a fur throw and Missoni bedding.
• Know that any attempts to pull your stylist wife away from fashion shows are futile. Rodger tries this on Rachel: “It would be nice to go see a show — not like a fashion show but a Broadway show.”
• Working is actually a competition to see who can get the least amount of sleep. Rachel tells someone, “Trust me when I tell you the people of Haiti need this more than I need sleep.” And later Brad and the new girl try to one-up each other by getting two or three hours of sleep, and we refuse to try to remember who said they got what.
• If you want to say, “Shut the fuck up,” but want to mix it up, try Rachel’s, “Shut. The Front. Door.” Or do it our way and try it backwards: “Up fuck the shut!”
• Rodger: “Rachel doesn’t say no to a lot of things in her career, and it seems like I’m the only person she says no to — it’s frustrating.”
• When things don’t go right, blame the underling! Rachel needs Brad to help her with the show as well as for moral support, but when a truckload of designer clothes fails to arrive in FedEx on time, and Rachel enters crisis mode, she blames Brad rather than herself. “At some point I’m going to have to scream and shout that I can’t pull clothing out of my ass,” she says. Brad tries to make himself look not quite so bad. “We’re not in dire straits,” he says, of dressing models to benefit victims of one of the worst tragedies of our time. “We are in dire straits,” Rachel answers, unblinking.
• Don’t feed the boss excuses when she thinks you’re not doing your job. Brad tells Rachel when there aren’t enough clothes, “I’ve asked literally every single person multiple times. I don’t know what else to do.” She says, “I actually don’t need excuses. I need clothes.” But when we get Brad on-camera sans Rachel, he tries to convince the world his excuses are perfectly valid! “What does she want me to do? Like, put on a snow suit and snowshoes and start banging down the doors of showrooms?” he says. Oh heavens, anything but that kind of discomfort to benefit the victims of the Haiti earthquake who lost all their possessions and families and are praying for medical aid and fresh water.
• Rachel exists in her own little fashion world. “We’re gonna get through Haiti,” she tells Brad, when they love each other again and stop shit-talking behind each other’s backs. Yes, them. They are going to get through Haiti, in their fur coats and Louboutins.
• One way to try to cover up being a neglectful wife is to start speaking to your husband exclusively in phrases that begin with the word baby. Rachel is all, “Baby this, baby that,” to Rodger when he's pouting over the lost Broadway show. Is Sunshine Anderson playing in your head right now? Because she should be.