Now in its fifth season, The Rachel Zoe Project seems less driven by Rachel’s extreme stress than the merry pace of her ultra-fabulous life. Has her freaking out about finding Cameron Diaz’s Oscar dress finally told all the stories it can tell? Is she afraid to talk about anything that might remind her female viewers of her client Anne Hathaway, who the media keeps telling me everywomen hate? Or maybe she’s just obsessed with Atlantic and New York cover stories, and wants to show everyone that she’s having it all, contrary to the thousands upon thousands of words they’ve spent explaining why women don’t need/can’t have husbands, kids, and fulfilling careers. Given that Rachel does have it all, how does she manage it? Let’s review.
3. 1. If you are blessed enough to be skilled at something you must generously bestow your gifts on those around you.
For like the fiftieth time in the four episodes so far this season, we’ve seen a clip of Rodger flailing about with his scarves and dress shirts, positively freaking out about what kind of outfit to wear — a cry for attention from his invisible perch atop the RZ empire. Finally, Rachel generously bestows her gift of knowing not only what she should wear but also what everyone else should wear upon her clueless, forlorn spouse. Rather than roll her eyes at his
feminine fastidious ways she explains that she just can’t witness someone — especially her baby or husband — drowning in their own style and not swoop in to tell them how to fix themselves up so that they’re worthy of being attached to her hip. So she dashes in, tosses Rodger a Hermes life vest, and bravely pulls him to safety from his suffocating pile of silken fringed neckwear. Once Rodger’s Mary J. Blige-inspired white linen suit was in place, off to the champagne brand-sponsored polo match they were ready to go.
Rachel has to go to the polo match because she’s friends with the only polo player that people who don’t know shit about polo (so, all of us) have ever possibly heard of: Nacho Figueras. But also, it is a universal truth that going to see polo matches in the summer in a U.S. coastal town serves as a significant confirmation of one’s Fabulousness. If you are professionally Fabulous like Rachel and her actress and designer cohorts, you have to enthuse over sports that don’t draw hordes of fratty dudes and are best viewed from under a large, stylish sun hat. So: polo! Skyler gets to go to the Voovewhatever polo match with his parents — “mommy stuff,” says Rachel — because Rachel is determinedly molding him into the most Fabulous creature that’s walked the earth, herself aside, and watching polo is an essential part of the next Hamptons-ruling generation’s development. There, he can wear his tiny fedoras and his mini Dries Van Noten man blouses and, between bites of ceviche, point gleefully to his stomach when Mommy looks up from Selma Blair to coo, “Where’s your tummy?”
I have to say also, Skyler is remarkably well-behaved given that he has to do something that’s pretty boring, really, while wearing an outfit that matches Rodger Zoe’s. I’d have a tantrum, personally.
7. 3. Pink is for dorks.
Well, I’m exaggerating. But Rachel explains that you can be a woman and be cool without loving pink, “the only thing I have an allergy to.” In a meeting with her design team she says, “Someone tell me why everyone loves pink. I literally don’t understand what the obsession is with pink.” She’s right — pink is the color of eye infections, Lisa Vanderpump’s tackiness, Anne Hathaway’s Oscar dress. What gives, ladies? You are supposed to HATE all of those things! So next time you reach for pink, grab something not pink, but Bordeaux wine-colored. To be fair, Rachel, all red wine is the same color. And you really meant to say oxblood.
8. 4. Having kids gives you an excuse to be late.
Rachel used to be “really early” to everything but since she birthed the world’s most famous fedora model she’s always ten minutes late. But as anyone with flakey iphone-owning friends knows, ten minutes late is basically on time, and “really early” is like a fossil of our pre-digital past, from an era when people told time by the sun and instead of text messaging, had to communicate by drawing buffalo on cave walls. So embrace that lateness and welcome yourself to the “having it all” era, Rachel!
When else will she have time to bother with his needs?
Shopping is like eating — if you don’t have to do it by yourself, then don’t. (Then, since this is fashion, it might also hold true that if you don’t have to do it at all, then skip it entierly?) Find, if not someone to jointly enjoy the experience with, at least an audience. For Rachel that is the Rachel Zoe Collection designer who accompanies her to a vintage store that is probably the subject of a separate show on Bravo (even the most diehard of Bravo fans cannot keep track of ALL the network’s incestuous programming). What unfolds in the store is a lot of Rachel freaking out over leather coats with suede square bits on them and an old black Pucci thing Rachel probably has 20 of already. Is it just me or is this the first time all season Rachel seems just totally ALIVE? That just goes to show what having it all can do for the working mother’s soul. When the fedora-wearing doll-child is with the multi-strand bracelet wearing daddy, you need something else from which to derive fulfillment. And if it’s not food it may as well be shopping trips at fancy vintage stores that can be passed off as work.
13. 7. Demand the best at all times.
Whether that means making your assistant run around Beverly Hills collecting hideous peace signs made of diamonds or ensuring that your clothing line’s leather leggings do not look like they’re “from 8th Street” (which ugh, they so did), you always have to ask for the things you want — repeatedly. Looking at another pair of pants, before Rachel can accuse them of looking like they’re “from Strawberry,” Mandanna says, “I asked for a seam down the front.” To which Rachel replies, “I asked for a chateau in the south of France. I haven’t gotten that yet.” Well she’s about to get a chateau in the middle of New York City so, you know — trade offs.
14. 8. Shamelessly flaunt your free designer gifts in front of your assistants.
Reed Krakoff, who is “so chic, it’s annoying,” sends Rachel a purse that looks like a brown office envelope with contrast trim. This is what happens when you reach the upper echelons of the fashion industry — designers send you outrageously expensive shit just to maintain relationships. Like, Karl Lagerfeld’s version of texting is sending editors free Chanel bags. (Make no mistake, these editors have definitely buttered up those designers like a piece of Rodger’s dry toast throughout their careers.) Rachel, instead of receiving the gift discreetly, yanks it out of the bag and clutches it to her body as though she’s just found Skyler the perfect leather baby onesie. “MAJ!!!!!” Rachel exclaimed, enjoying the all that she has, before going home to tell her husband next season’s “all” includes their very own Manhattan apartment.