Spy News Magazine: I remember when I started my career in Fashion and worked in Hong Kong, I was obsessed with your show. I was constantly watching it and thinking that one day I would interview you. Here I am. I did a lot of planning in my career moves did you plan yours?
Rachel: Awe thank you for these wonderful words. Honestly, I planned nothing. I really planned nothing at all. I wish I could say that I knew what I was going to do, how I was going to it. But when I started there were no opportunities that there is now in the fashion industry. I knew that I wanted to work with people, that I wanted to be creative, that I loved fashion, but I didn’t know that I could make a career out of it. So I kind of just used my instincts. Little by little I just started styling. Then I saw some opportunities, and tried to go in different areas, as I don’t like doing same thing for a long time.
Spy News Magazine: That’s so true, it was so different back then, digital didn’t yet exist. So how was it?
Rachel: (Smiling) When I started, in my opinion, it was the best time in fashion, as I say, it was the Tom Ford era, which by the way is still the Tom Ford era, just the different part of it. It was really unbelievable time, the supermodels era. I felt so lucky to build up my career in that time. This was the most exciting thing ever. My heroes, my icons were there, you know. South Beach Miami, working on the photo-shoot with best photographers in history. There was no behind the scenes access. Everything was a secret. Certainly there were no digital. I think I didn’t even have an email. I remember my husband set up an email for me. I was like: “What’s the point of this?” So it’s a totally, totally different time now. And I think you can succeed much quicker now.
Spy News Magazine: But most positions are already taken, don’t you think so?
Rachel: There are hundreds positions within the industry. Thousands of people by the age of 15 say: “I want to be a stylist” “I want to be a designer” “I want to be whatever it is in fashion”. They are already interning at such a young age. The time we hire in my office interns usually have already experience of working for examples 3 summers in a magazine or for fashion house. You can study styling at school now, get a degree in fashion.
Creative people always have problem of monetizing their ideas. What is you advise on it?
Follow your instincts, be creative, and try to see opportunities. It will come with experience.
Spy News Magazine: You are a celebrity stylist, designer with your own clothing line sold in more than 300 stores worldwide, have a talk show, a famous blogger and a writer with two published books, moreover happy mother and wife, and a gorgeous woman. Please tell me, what is the key to your success and how do you manage your time?
Rachel: Thank you! You know I have incredible team. Now we are in my New York office, we just moved here, we also have office in Los Angeles with 40 people working there. I think that there are different parts of my business, media group, the collection business, the Television side and endorsement. There are things that I can only do myself. You know I can’t send someone else instead of me (laughing), I’ve tried trust me. Very ironically, when I became a mom, I actually became more efficient in my work. Because I look at things in a much more healthier manner and also in a way that I am able to prioritize, I don’t really get upset about things that you don’t need to be upset about. I think that before I had children I could get easily upset about everything. When I say upset I mean not angry, but stressed. I would worry about everything. It is all about timing, focus and being concentrated 100 percent on what I am doing.
Spy News Magazine: What does living in Style mean to you personally? Has this definition been changing within years?
Rachel: I believe my life has changed considerably. It is weird. I work as hard as I used to, but I work differently. I use my time better I am more focused my children are my entire Universe. I think Living in style to me means, how I feel, my state of mind. I always believed that glamour and style are very much state of mind. It does not mean you are dressed up. It just means you are feeling good, you are living you life in a way that excites you, in a way that makes you happy and satisfied, in a way that you are surrounded by people that interest you, challenge you. Also when you have a confidence., when you feel good in your skin. Glamour doesn’t mean having a nine-course dinner all dressed up. To me is more like having a family dinner, wearing comfortable clothes, laughing and having a good time.
Spy News Magazine: Were there moments when you felt not confident?
Rachel: Always. I never do. I am always trying to be better. If something was really successful I am not the one to say: “OMG, it was so successful” I always think how I can do it better, what went wrong, how I can achieve more. It is a constant need for improvement. This is a blessing and a curse.
Spy News Magazine: Nice shoes and dress does not always give you confidence. Being a stylist is like being a shrink, don’t you think?
Rachel: Absolutely. I am creating not just an image, but an overall feeling, certain level of confidence and kind of building character a little bit. The most successful part of my career of being a stylist was when my clients looked at me saying “I’ve never felt so beautiful in my entire life”. One of my clients won an Oscar, and before she said: “Even if I don’t win it’s fine, I have the best dress and I look the best”. So that was great.
Spy News Magazine: Designers, creative people, have to deal with constant pressure to come out with new ideas each season. Watching you, most people get inspired, as they see a powerful, full of energy successful business woman. Were you afraid of launching your own line?
Rachel: Yes! Yes! I was. I was waiting for that moment for such a long time. It’s been 16 years of my career before I launched my very first collection. It was so many years of going to fashion show, looking at other designers creating collections, collaborating with them. But when I go to the show, even now, I go as a stylist, not as a designer. They are my friends and I want to see what they are doing. I never look at their clothes thinking: “Hmm may be I should have done the same design”
It is not like that. Moreover I am going to the Haute-Couture shows and to me going that road was a very slippery move.
Spy News Magazine: Congrats on your show. I remember when you launched you very first collection it was very commercial. With each year it was changing and appeared to have your DNA. Now I can definitely say: “This is Rachel Zoe”. When I saw the latest collection I was wowed on how glamorous it has become. I noticed one thing: less high heels. Is this really you?
Rachel: (Laughing) I know right? Thank you for you sweet words. I really feel the same.
Well, there are flats because. I keep trying to make high heels, but it isn’t the same anymore, you know what I mean? As a designer I always wanted to make what I love. The funny thing is that I might not wear any flats, but every woman in my life does, 85 percent of them wear flats. I said to myself: “Ok, I can either fight this or I can accept it and say I love it”. There are so many shoes in my collection that I am in love with. And just because I don’t wear flats myself, everyone else I know does. I don’t design so I can get dressed up every day, though I wear my collection every day. I design for the women that I know. I really think about those independent self confident jet set women, they need to look good, they actually need to be on their feet 15 hours a day and look sexy. If you look at the front row at the fashion show everyone wear flats or sneakers. Look at you! You wear sneakers. I do love them, but I just don’t wear them myself. I am a heels girl.
Spy News Magazine: High heels give certain sex appeal to many women…Moreover; women’s shoe heel size exerts a powerful effect on men’s behavior.
Rachel: I know. Isn’t it funny and sad at the same time? (Laughing). Most of my friends are women who made it big in their career and they wear flats. In LA this is very common. During the day a women wears pencil skirt with flats, and in the evening she chooses high heels and look glamorous and sexy. The truth is that people are really not dressing up anymore as it used to be, and this is very sad to me. I don’t want to loose this glamorous side of me.
Interview: Russ Ev
Photo: Courtesy of Rachel Zoe