The Rachel Zoe Project has many themes, like: “fashion is life”; “materialism FTW”; “catch phrases are really important”; “L.A.’s weather is always better than New York’s”. But mostly, this is a show about love. And not just the love between Rachel and purses and caftans, and the love between Rodger and leather jewelry, but also, the love between Rachel and Rodger and now Skyler. Let’s take an in-depth look at the rules for that special kind of domesticity that blends so seamlessly with Rachel’s professional life, as seen on the latest episode.
1. Carry unusual foods in your purse.
The episode opens with a fun warm-up scene of the girls at RZ HQ giggling about something other than the fact that they have no lives because they work for RZ Inc! Ha ha! Here, they’re only chuckling over a tangential consequence to working for RZ Inc. and therefore having no lives: having to carry food in their purses because who would have time to eat otherwise? And not just an apple here, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich there — but weird foods. Food that have no business being in purses, like yogurt and pasta. How old are those foods in your purses? Who knows! But isn’t it funny? This… FOOD! Food — in a fashion office! Food — inside purses in a fashion office!!! LOLZ!!
So says Rachel in a meeting about the bright blue and green purses in her fashion line that you could never imagine her carrying anywhere. You know what else has to be accessorized? Husbands. Mostly if you’re husband is Rodger Zoe, because he needs to wear more accessories than Vanessa Hudgens at Coachella at all times.
During the handbag meeting, Rodger rolls in like a drunk Olsen twin, manblouse akimbo, shades down, hair in his face — with a mismatched messenger bag slung over his shoulder. Finally Rachel realizes: Rodger needs help. His poor wardrobe is crying out to her the way Anne Hathaway did in Les Mis to all the people in the world who would soon hate her. As Rachel is complaining about how Rodger just wants to spawn another child without even thinking about what it’s going to be like for them, one-track-mind Mandana goes, “I have a bigger problem with Rodger — what is he wearing?” If this were a Judd Apatow movie, this would be the time at which we’d be treated to a really funny montage of Paul Rudd playing a dufus-y store clerk and Rodger trying things on and being upset — but not! — about it. But this is Bravo, so instead it become a big publicity opportunity for AllSaints.
Rachel decides that she just needs to take Rodger to one store where he can buy everything he needs (or doesn’t — as if that man has extra space in his apartment-sized closet, please). “I have to make sure he’s on a full stomach and, like, hydrated,” she says. This is definitely true — women can’t take their straight male partners anywhere, really, unless they’re well-fed or have food in their purse. Otherwise they get upset and throw tantrums and complain about not feeling well and insist on going home before the outing has been completed. Then they’ll eat and feel better and when you go home they’ll be all like, “I guess I was just hungry.” And you’ll storm off annoyed.
Anyway, after Rachel stuffs Rodger with food — I’d guess her special baked salami — she takes him to AllSaints where they’re greeted by someone who has some connection to AllSaints. Is he the designer? CEO? Store manager? It’s unclear but he’s there because Bravo probably had a deal with AllSaints about it. Anyway, Rodger’s all, “I want brown and beige!” And Rachel whips him with a strand of her vintage Saint Laurent Rive Gauche fringe and is like, “No brown, no beige! You BEAST!” And then Rachel forces asymmetrical sweaters over his head and hits him in the face with a piece of metal encircling her wrist and Rodger’s like, “OW! You BEAST!” And Rachel goes, “At least you got hit by Hermes!” (That’s a real quote that I did not make up, fwiw.) And then either Joey or the purposeless All Saints fairy man suggests a more fitted look for Rodger, and Rachel says, “Rodger can’t wear that — it will give him manboobs.” Well, this may be one benefit to an otherwise odious fringed neckline — the fringe can hide manboobs? Did Rodger pick up anything like that? Because maybe he should.
“I’m plotting my strategy for baby number two. basically you just gotta both get drunk and things happen,” Rodger tells the camera. “Isn’t that how everyone has a kid?” I don’t know, Rachel?
“Nothing makes me want to make out with my husband more than a shawl collar,” Rachel announces during that peculiar scene where she’s showing off Rodger’s new looks to their “children,” i.e., the young blond girls who sit all close together on a long table in an area of the building that’s removed from Rachel’s palatial, spacious in-office quarters, where no one has to share desks.
You know: the vintage dealer. Rachel and Rodger have a guy that has the hard stuff — according to Bravo and Google, apparently, his name is “William Banks-Blaney.” He’s a mysterious man, this WBB. We previously saw him in Paris when Rodger needed to find a purse to give Rachel for her birthday or whatever event it was that happened when they were in Paris, remember? He brought Rodger to a dark and shady lair run by a man wearing a violet blouse unbuttoned to his belly button? This time, Rodger meets WBB at a discreet Moroccan palace in the middle of L.A. otherwise known as the “Montage Hotel.” Something is definitely shady about this international James Bondian man of vintage. Despite having come off an 11-hour flight, he looks as though he’s just emerged from a totally non-irritating chemical peel and spray tan. He’s wearing a camel vest and matching jacket with a perfectly fluffed polka dot pocket square. Rodger and WBB order solid food, and when it arrives they lean surreptitiously over the succulent on their table and whisper about all the hard shit designers are buying from WBB. It’s all tunics and ’60s A-line things, he says, eyes darting side to side for evesdroppers.
Gossip out of the way, Rodger hides WBB in a closet in RZ Inc. HQ so he can surprise Rachel when she least expects it. “It’s like he rolls in with like a rack of couture,” Rachel says after hugging the dealer. “Who DOES that?” Its unclear if this meeting is so that Rachel can buy things for inspiration for her line OR if she just wants to do some really dirty shopping of her own. Anyway, as he’s letting Rachel try on a big-shouldered black sequin jacket, Skyler bounds into the room — wearing a brown onesie — and with Rodger in earshot all WBB can talk about is how much he wants Skyler’s onesie in the shade Rodger is forbidden from wearing. That was low, WBB. LOW. “Don’t get lost in couture my love,” Rachel cries to Skyler as WBB prepares to unleash his birthday present for Rachel. Yes, Skyler, don’t fall on the stash — it’s not for kids. Then WBB unzips a black garment back to reveal a long-sleeved Jean Patou dress from 1967 — the Karl Lagerfeld era — that has sparkles and large pearly growths all over it. Rachel insists she can’t possibly accept it but then takes a big snort of the sleeve and get’s so high off it she takes it anyway. Meanwhile, Skyler, wise beyond his years, sits on Mommy’s hip giving the dress a mean side eye. Me too, Skyler. Me too.
In the car after taping the Good Morning America hair segment — an ad for Rachel’s Dream Dry hair blow-out salon, in other words — Rodger, fussy as always, is like, “I have to take off my jacket, I’m so hot.” Rachel, deadpan, counters: “Do you have menopause?” Another LOL for RZ.
8. Tell the nanny how to style the child when you are out of town.
Rachel has to be away from Skyler for a day to do the GMA taping, but she calls her nanny back in L.A. to check in. Mid call she realizes she forgot to lay out an outfit for Skyler, and instructs the foreign nanny to put him in his Gucci toggle coat, “that’d be really cute.” (…)
After the Glamour magazine boho shoot in some far-flung foggy field, where Rachel talked to a stoic dog and slapped some metal grass skirts and asymmetrical genie outfits on two girls with the proportions of walking sticks, our lady makes it home to have dinner with Skyler. This is her nightly routine and no one can take it away from her. Tonight, it’s pasta with green beans and broccoli, which Rachel makes Skyler eat so he doesn’t end up like Rodger “Manboobs” Zoe. Then Rachel sashays her mid-calf Missoni house robe over to Skyler’s play area, which comes with a white shag carpet and has more stuff in it than most studio apartments in New York City. Skyler tries to hit Rachel with a plastic shovel, but her reflexes are quick enough to ward off facial damage.
This is one thing I really appreciate about Rachel: she lives an incredibly enviable life that she’s worked incredibly hard for and even though she’s still working really hard, she stops to smell Rodger’s hair conditioner every once in a while, and reflect on how great they have it.