Rachel Zoe: ‘The red carpet is probably played a little safer now’

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I used to watch (and love) The Rachel Zoe Project on Bravo. It’s not that Zoe was a “star” or a compelling figure, but I enjoyed watching her work and I enjoyed seeing the business of the fashion/styling industry, how relationships are formed and how Zoe chose looks for her clients. I also enjoyed, on a personal level, Zoe’s Virgo-ness. She’s Peak Virgo and I saw myself in so many of the life/work decisions she made. At the time of the show, her client roster included Cameron Diaz, Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson, Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie and more. Some of them even made cameos on the show. TRZP was really a harbinger of things to come, where stylists, makeup artists and background styling teams became celebrities in their own right. Zoe is now a brand unto herself, and I believe she is still involved with various mass-market fashion and accessories lines and she’s stepped back from personal styling. Zoe chatted recently with Page Six about how the styling industry has changed dramatically in the past fifteen years:

She never thought she’d become a household name: “When I started styling, I wouldn’t talk about a client unless I spoke to the client and their publicist and their manager and their agent. I wouldn’t even mention that I knew them or was working with them. I was sort of pulled in the front by accident, to be honest. The media just started to notice some of the people that I was working with, and wondered, ‘Hey, why is she in a full look to go to Coffee Bean?’ or, ‘Why does she look good going to the airport?’”

The glam squad used to stay in the back: “I think back in the day, it was supposed to maybe appear as though everybody was dressing themselves and there was no hair, makeup and styling. The glam squad knew to stay in the back.”

The glam squad into the forefront: “Now that’s a very normal, understood thing, where the talent is part of the glam squad’s world. They’re endorsing their hair products, their makeup brands, their clothing brands, their YouTube videos. They’re posting on social media and tagging everybody. It’s a totally different time.”

Red carpet fashion is safe now: “The red carpet is probably played a little safer now. I do see more clients wearing one designer [from head to toe] — I think there’s more of a business there,” Zoe said, referring to how fashion houses formally partner with stars and then dress them exclusively throughout awards season. “That’s the thing that people don’t always know when they’re talking about fashion: They see the glamour and they see the pictures and they see the carpet, but ultimately, fashion is a business more so than anything else. Once in a while, you really have someone that really owns [their look] and knows how to do it themselves. I even know one particular actress who literally does her own glam.”

[From Page Six]

I also think the red carpet is more boring these days because everything is a business and everyone has a stylist. Fashion houses and jewelers pay actresses and models to wear their stuff exclusively on the red carpet, and then those women don’t even get the best looks. Think of Jennifer Lawrence’s Dior contract or Margot Robbie’s Chanel contract – both women are contractually obligated not only to be the “face” of the brand, but to wear Dior and Chanel on every major red carpet. And it gets really boring and their dresses are almost always too safe. While Rachel doesn’t say this specifically, there’s also the Kardashian-ification of glam-squads, where C-listers have full hair, makeup and styling for even casual appearances or street-style photos. It’s become homogenized and unexciting.

Rachel Zoe arrives at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the P...

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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32 Responses to “Rachel Zoe: ‘The red carpet is probably played a little safer now’”

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  1. SShehheh says:

    Which actress does her own glam?

  2. tw says:

    We are affected in so many ways by the quick, easy access to mobile phone cameras. Tik Tok stars are falling off mountains and dying trying to get a video, and D list celebrities have glam squads prepping them for a walk to the corner bodega. I honestly worry for the younger generations who don’t get a break from feeling on camera at all times.

  3. Chaine says:

    Was her styling even any good? I’m sort of recoiling at her in that red monstrosity that looks like granny’s special Christmas morning robe.

    • AnneSurely says:

      No. And I’m laughing bc her penchant for draping women wearing expensive gowns in costume jewelry is directly responsible for the contracts between stars and design houses including head to toe look approval. They all learned from the years when celebs were dressed in their gorgeous gowns and then plopped on the worst dress list bc of wacky styling.

    • taris says:

      my thoughts exactly.
      i used to watch her show way back when, and i found her vibe boring as hell. if this was somebody like lady gaga calling out “safe” fashion, that’d make a lot more sense to me. there’s nothing that’s ever made rachel zoe’s style unique or interesting at all.

  4. Julia K says:

    Love the red dress. Simple. Elegant.

  5. Iris says:

    Zendaya has done her own hair and makeup for events – not all the time but she’s definitely done it in the past

  6. Merricat says:

    She’s not my favorite, but she’s dead on about the red carpet.

  7. Willow says:

    I watched her show for a little bit and am glad she got so successful, but she seemed so stressed all the time that I had to stop watching because it would stress me out! Her husband, Roger, was calmer and that helped.

  8. Lena says:

    The Rachel Zoe Project was such good reality television. I’d love to binge it all since all this nostalgia gossip is going around. It was good even though she very rarely had any of her big stars on. Her relationship with her assistants Taylor and Brad was funny and I especially liked her relationship with her husband. He is like her assistant/manager and played the stereotypical wife role. When US magazine and paparazzi pictures were everywhere she took Nicole Richie and made her into someone you wanted to see what she wore to the drug store. Then Nicole left her too and went out on her own like all of her assistants did. At least she still has Roger. Now THATS a love story.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      I loved her show too! Rachel is incredibly talented and knows how to dress stars, or anyone. I think that she is right about how all of these fashion houses just want to sign up famous people and don’t take onto account what looks best on them, only what they want to push in their collection. It’s a shame too as so many don’t look good. And Roger, with Rachel, are a dynamic couple! They have a fabulous partnership and have been together since their 20’s! I am very happy for her as I think she is owed the success she has. She has worked extremely hard her entire career! Also, I hated the way Brad quit and he was not willing to put in the hard work. Always felt entitled and pissy!

      • Anne Call says:

        I follow her on and off on Instagram and she posts a lot about her family. She has two young sons plus seems very close to her parents and sister. I always thought she seemed semi normal and kind (neurotic but not a raving lunatic). She did announce recently that she’s doing another reality show, I think on bravo. I would like to tell her and SJP to look at Naomi Watts cute shorter haircut and rethink the hairdo “I had in my 20’s” look.

    • Ctkat1 says:

      She’d drive me insane as a friend but she does (or at least did at the time of filming) have an incredibly healthy and supportive marriage. They worked really well together and lifted each other up.

  9. Marie says:

    Agreed on J Law’s Dior contract. She went through her It Girl period wearing some looks that were wayyy too old for a beautiful, fun, young woman in her 20s. I think it was her 2014 Oscars look where they styled her like a 50 year old Hollywood matron with the red peplum dress and bouffant short hairstyle. (Just looked it up – she was only 23.)

  10. ThEHufflepuffLizLemon says:

    I agree about the contracts and impact on the ability to play with fashion. If you’re representing a brand, there’s going to be limitations.
    I love Law Roach though. His styling is still very interesting and unique, and I love his clients looks.

  11. questions says:

    Maybe no one wants to turn into a meme.

    • Lily says:

      ^ ^ 100%. Maybe the red carpet ‘is played too safe’ because the 24 hours after a red carpet is dedicated tearing women down, and to scrutinising every inch of women’s body and choices. So yeah, for mental health’s sake, most are gonna step out being safe.

  12. Yasmine says:

    What is she talking about? The red carpet is traditional not a fashion show. People are looking to fit in & be appropriately accepted. Look at the designer for Max Rider her outfit definitely broke the norms. But she was called ugly, etc. Hollywood is not ready for people that March to their own drums.

    Also Zoe is a toxic person, her assistant left her. There were rumors about a feud between Zoe & Andy that caused the downfall of her show.

  13. Lily says:

    Deleted double post

  14. SusanRagain says:

    Beautiful red dress. Slightly too long for my taste. Fabric should not touch the ground, looks messy and a tripping hazard.
    She is styled beautifully, very classic look.
    Nice to see an elegant outfit.

  15. SurvivalIsTheGame says:

    I perceive Zoe to be an absolutely awful person, I was young and working in fashion when her show aired and it really gave me a taste of all of the awful, hopped up on uppers, pukefaced harpies that I would work for in the coming years. I really hate the way she treated her assistant Brad, he seemed incredibly talented and much more telegenic and charismatic than her, and she just set out to destroy him. I think if his husband weren’t an important person in hollywood, she would have been 100% successful. Nevertheless, I do agree that fashion and the red carpet in general is quite boring now. Back when I worked in high-end fashion my bosses would always tell me, don’t share the how, only share the end result because people crave the mystery. Fashion is totally boring without the mystery.

  16. Kfg says:

    Ehh she pushed the superskinny to be pretty narrative and got Nicole Ritchie who was a size 6 to drop down to a size 0. Everyone she styled became emaciated

  17. elle says:

    Something about that red dress is off to my eyes. Her head looks like it’s on backwards.