This afternoon on the 32nd floor of a midtown skyscraper, a camera crew shadowed Rachel Zoe as she showed the spring 2012 collection for her namesake line. Zoe characters like her husband Rodger and "execubitch" Mandana milled about as she greeted her fellow fashion luminaries — Elle editor Robbie Myers, Neiman Marcus fashion director Ken Downing, and Japanese Vogue fashion director Anna Dello Russo, who chatted with Zoe on-camera. "I want you to wear it!" Rachel told Russo. Would she? "I’m wearing, for sure, the white stuff over there," Russo told us when she stepped off-camera. "I think Rachel is doing very well because she has her own aesthetic, and she also projects herself in the clothes. It’s really, like, L.A. — an L.A. collection but done in an international way."
For spring, Zoe says she looked to "Brigitte Bardot. Late sixties, early seventies, running around the south of France, being her glamorous self, but never kind of trying to be glamorous, she just is because she’s like the coolest thing ever." Part of Zoe's prescribed effortlessness can be seen in the flats — flats! — worn by many models.
"The gold sequin minidress there? That dress is sort of a lot on its own, so I wanted to bring it down a notch with simple flat shoes. But I also kind of wanted to show how you can kind of do glamour by day — like if she threw on a leather jacket with that you could totally wear that during the day," explained Zoe, who says her typical shoes are five to seven inches high. "My entire staff laughed at me because I’ve actually worn [the flats] like three or four times and they are so comfortable," Zoe continued. "If I was five foot nine, I’d actually probably never wear heels."
A less easy look to pull off in the collection is, well, those all-white pieces, which designers have persistently shown all week, after the white (after white after white) looks they showed last spring. And it's not that they're hard to pull off because of the old-fashioned notion that "white makes you look fat" — but because hey, this is New York, it's a dirty place, and we consume foods and beverages that are not clear. Though Rachel is a "huge proponent of white," she advocates carrying stain remover. The best one? "Baby wipes. carry baby wipes in your bag and you just rub stains off."
Though fans have watched Zoe stress out over work on The Rachel Zoe Project for years, Zoe says she's more relaxed than ever, even while her workload is bigger than ever. "Having my son now, it’s actually given me clarity and making it easier. My time is limited and so everything’s more focused, and I’m actually way more efficient. And I’m also happy all the time," she says. "Everyone on my team has actually said to me, 'You’re so calm!' I’m like, I have Skyler. Everything people said [having a baby] does, it does."
"I love this kind of woman," Russo says. "They do family, they do business, they're working so hard, so bravo."