London Fashion Week kicked off with a skinny model brouhaha. But Fashion Season must say there wasn't a single model that we spotted on the London runways who did not look like the Michelin Man standing next to Rachel Zoe.
One of the world's hottest celebrity stylists right now, Zoe has helped hone the fashion "looks" of celebs such as Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson, Lindsay Lohan and Mischa Barton. The apparently vanishing physiques of some of whom, it should be noted, have been the subjects of quite some recent speculation.
Although we had watched her arrive at Thursday night's Emporio Armani do in a strapless, white, fringed evening dress and not thought too much of it – nothing like two rows of heavy fringing to add a few pounds – on the following evening, after the Julien MacDonald show, we were struck by just how petite Zoe really is.
In town to style MacDonald's show, Zoe appeared that night to have borrowed her midnight blue, long-sleeved, full-length Roberto Cavalli number from her big sister. Whatever the explanation – and there must surely be a plethora of them – the dress was quite obviously pinned at the back, as you would on a shop dummy, to make it fit properly.
We had a quick chat after the show:
WHAT IS THE POWER OF THE CELEBRITY STYLIST? DESIGNERS ARE CONSTANTLY COMPLAINING ABOUT THEIR INCREASING POWER IN HOLLYWOOD.
Rachel Zoe: I think that many designers need a liaison between the celebrity and themselves because I don't think that they necessarily know ... how to dress models most of the time. But they don't necessarily know how to build a dress around a real person, who might have insecurities and things like that. So I think a stylist is someone who is very hands-on with the celebrity and very intimate and has a relationship with them. So I think they need that voice to say, "OK, this is what's going to work, this is what she's going to like, this is what she's not going to like".
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN STYLING?
[Nervous laugh] Thirteen years.
WHEN DID PEOPLE FIRST START TALKING ABOUT YOU?
I've been working this hard for 13 years.
BUT WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PARTICULAR IMPACT DO YOU THINK?
I don't know. I think it's media and I think the fact that I've had a very similar style for a very long time and I think maybe that it's caught on and people suddenly think that I'm influencing the world of fashion. I don't know, I don't try and change anybody.
WHAT'S IT LIKE BEFORE THE ACADEMY AWARDS?
[Nervous laugh] I just want to hide out and crawl up in a ball for two months this season.
WHEN DOES THE OSCARS DRESS RACE START?
The minute they announce the awards.
DESCRIBE THE PROCESS.
I don't sleep for two months. I don't leave my house very often because I'm in fittings and there's people bringing me dresses and jewellery. It's just extremely stressful and extremely competitive amongst the designers and it gets very stressful because a lot of them are my very dear friends and it's very hard to sort of hurt people because their job is relying on that. It's a lot of pressure. It's become a lot more serious than it might necessarily need to be.
WHAT ABOUT THE DESIGN HOUSES THAT PAY ACTORS LARGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY TO WEAR THEIR CLOTHES ON THE RED CARPET? DO YOU FIND YOURSELF COMPETING WITH THAT?
I don't do it. I think that if the product is good enough they have to stand behind that. I think that contracts and being paid money and stuff, that's something that if it's a deal between a celebrity and a designer – that's their business. And if the stylist is involved in that, then that's great. But I think it's different for every designer and for every celebrity.
WHAT ABOUT THE POLITICS?
I try not to get involved in politics. I went to school in DC but I was definitely not a poli-sci major.
DOES ANYONE EVER ASK ABOUT YOUR SIZE? YOU LOOK THIN.
I get asked about it every day.
YOU LOOK VERY THIN.
I've been thin my entire life and I think it's unfair that people who are actually thin ... Look at Laurie [points to friend, standing next to her] – she's thin. Do you think she's getting yelled at every day? I think that there's a lot of people who are naturally thin people who are actually very healthy and in fact there are some people who are too thin, trying to gain weight.
HAVE YOU EVER HAD AN EATING DISORDER?
Have I? No. I think it's been a debate that's been going on for 20 years. And I think it's going to come out in public, it's going to go away for a while, it will come out again. It's going to go back and forth. It's never going to be resolved. You know?
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