1. Bonjour, mes amis!
Because The Rachel Zoe Project airs on Bravo and because every series on Bravo has the requisite “everyone goes to Paris” episode (looking at you, Housewives), the latest episode finds Rachel and Rodger in Paris. Rachel has to go to Paris Fashion Week, wear blue pantsuits, and be fabulous generally, but she also manages to find time to ride a carousel with “Sky Sky” and scold Rodger for eating quiche. If one thing was clear from the episode, it’s this: If you’re going to travel to PFW, this is the way to do it. Some rules for navigating the French fashion mayhem from our guardian angel, Rachel:
Obviously Rachel can’t go to Paris Fashion Week without bringing the entire contents of her closet, Skyler’s closet, and maybe the one drawer Rodger gets for his stuff. Once Rachel has amassed enough clothes to dress all of post-hurricane New Jersey, Rodger starts throwing one of the many tantrums he must be contractually obligated to throw each episode. “Rachel, it looks like a freaking estate sale. It’s…seven suitcases, for a week?” he cries, beads of sweat forming between his bracelets and wrists. “And those little carry-ons? How many pocketbooks you bringing?” Plus 5 for “estate sale,” but also, minus 5 for “pocketbooks.” Rodger’s fashion vocabulary is more up-to-date than that.
This is Rachel’s new catchphrase. (I think it’s new. Correct me if I’m wrong.) And in Rachel Land, I gather, it means the same thing to Rachel that “namaste” means to yoga instructors, i.e., “Thanks for doing the stuff I just told you to do, bye now.” For example, R&R’s packing argument:
Rodger: It’s called look at the effing weather.
Rachel [justifying why she needs “options”]: It could change in a minute.
Rodger: Rawr, bla bla, rawr.
Rachel: It’s not that deep.
Rodger: Gives up, storms out, slams door.
7. 3. Assert your American ways by finding a Starbucks as soon as you get to Paris.
SMH, Rodger, seriously.
9. 4. “Real” conversations are discouraged when meeting designers backstage post-fashion show.
Rachel’s post-Louis Vuitton conversation with Marc Jacobs goes something like this:
Rachel: Are you kidding me?
Marc: I know.
Rachel: Are you kidding me? blinks I love it.
There’s no point making small talk about the weather when, hey, “it could change in a minute.”
11. 5. Air-kiss everyone even if you have a cold that, according to your husband, makes you “sound like ass.”
SMH, Rachel, but double SMH at Rodger, because: rude.
Rachel may diffuse her feuds with Rodger by constantly reminding him that “it’s not that deep,” but what certainly is deep is this very Rachel Zoe Project she and Bravo have generously bestowed upon the world. This television program is a gleaming beacon of cinema verité in the barren wasteland of trashiness that is reality television, where dancing “stars” come and go like tumbleweeds in the dust, and shows that purport to be about fashion would leave aliens thinking humans are a troubled species that wears catfood dresses designed in 12 hours by amateur clothing makers and that only buys wedding dresses that don’t even carry as much aesthetic value as Barbie’s rollerblading costumes. But Rachel’s is a show of motifs, symbolism, depth. For after enthusing over Jacobs’ previous Vuitton show, where models rode a carousel and Kate Moss closed the show by walking next to that very carousel, Rachel finds a carousel to ride with Rodger and their impeccably anointed spawn. But it wasn’t just child’s play, it was the symbolic embodiment of the craziness of Rachel’s whirlwind life as a stylist, new designer, mom, and wife to a man that doubles as a jewelry box. Her life is just that — a wild carousel constantly trying to knock her off-balance in her 3-foot-high heels. And does she fall? No. Of course not.
Remembering Vuitton’s carousel, Rachel says to Rodger, “I was like, where do you go from there? And you know where you go from there? To escalators.”
Yes, just as Louis Vuitton went from the beautiful chaos of a carousel to the reliable stability of escalators, so too will Rachel’s life, career, clothing line. One day it will be another fashion fanatic greeting her after her shows, crying, “Are you kidding me?” And with ultimate serenity, she will simply say, “I know.”
16. 7. Don’t dress like a clown just for the sake of the street-style paparazzi.
Despite being a fashion icon and highly sought after by the street-style locusts swarming Paris Fashion Week, Rachel does not pull the tried-and-true Russian socialite tactic of drawing their attention by wearing fur bikinis and studded leather onesies — she just dresses like her regular flared-pants-loving self.
18. 8. Bring your husband to every single fashion outing and trust that he’ll love it.
I know Rachel and Rodger have been married for 21 years and have a son and share a bond that’s as solid and reliable as the earth’s gravitational pull, but I am still impressed by the enthusiasm he brings with him to fashion week. In my experience, boyfriends react to fashion shows the way small children do to the dentist — they kick and scream for while before begrudgingly submitting to the discomfort.
Rodger’s bejeweled body breaks out in red spots, but his issues are not to get in the way of PFW. “It’s probably heat rash or something,” Rachel says. “Take a Benadryl. (*rolls eyes*) Is that cold? (*squints*)” Well, Rodger can get a rash any day, but you can only see the Elie Saab collection walk the runway once, so…
22. 10. Hire a well-dressed gay/European to help you buy expensive presents for your wife.
Rodger and Rachel’s anniversary is approaching, which means! Time for Rodger to add one more friendship bracelet to his ever-growing arm party, but also, more importantly, it’s time for him to buy Rachel something fancy! We’ve seen him buy Rachel gifts (Hermès bag locks, other important things like this) with hired help in the past. And in Paris, Rodger slips away with a man clad in a beautiful suit to a vintage store run by a robust man in a neon-lilac shirt unbuttoned to reveal the full breadth of his heavage for a romantic rummage through fur stoles and old purses. With the help of his trusted adviser, Rodger avoids letting our wavy-haired friend sell him a black fur wrap or other menial piece of vintage Dior. Finally the gift consultant gets Rodger to settle on a small croc bag that looks like a tiny suitcase, which he presents to Rachel by saying, “Do you like? Isn’t is so hot? You know how you’re always like, ‘I want a clutch,’ but you can’t fit anything in your freaking clutches?” Ladies, do your straight male partners talk to you like this? This has to be Rachel and Rodger’s version of foreplay, only in Paris it can’t be followed by actual sex because Rodger, as Rachel explains to the professional gift-buying character, “has cooties.”
And then Rodger pays the additional costs of shipping Rachel’s seven suitcases back home, Skyler changes into his plane fedora, and the happy family returns to their wacky, beautiful L.A. life.