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Stars, stylists and designers turned up Tuesday at Hotel Bel-Air to support their friend Rachel Zoe during one of the biggest months of her career. In addition to debuting her Spring 2019 collection, Zoe is gearing up for the opening of her first store on Sept. 22 in Palisades Village, the latest vision of real estate guru Rick Caruso.
Actresses Victoria Justice, Jessica Alba and Rachel Bloom joined stylist Jamie Mizrahi (Katy Perry) and designers Anita Ko and Jennifer Meyer (also setting up shop in the Palisades) for the dinner and presentation, inspired by the effortless fashion of French women.
Models in ruffles, sequins and fringe walked the runway to songs by Destiny’s Child and Aretha Franklin.
“The music I chose for the show is all powerful women,” Zoe told The Hollywood Reporter. After Franklin’s death, Zoe wanted to “pay homage” to “the queen…I started with Aretha and she got me really excited, and I said, ‘Now I can’t use a man’s voice tonight.’ I just wanted strong powerful women singing.”
For the collection itself, Zoe was inspired by women she has seen on her travels to Paris and the South of France, namely their confidence and style.
“Every time I go, I’m just so in awe of the effortless cool of these women. They don’t try hard at all,” Zoe said. During Paris Fashion Week, she’ll wander through the Tuileries garden to admire flowers and architecture: “I love springtime in Paris, and I was thinking with this collection about what it is at that time of year that I love so much and gets me all into my Paris state of mind.”
Her muse translated into florals, pinks and slip dresses, reminiscent of “the sort of simplicity of French women,” for her 31st ready-to-wear collection. Among the pieces was a teal and pink floral sequin gown and a shimmering long-sleeved peach dress with a deep V-neck. Models finished with bridal fashion as Franklin’s “Natural Woman” played on the final walk.
Guests noshed on a burrata and greens salad and their choice of pan-roasted Scottish salmon with fennel or mesquite grilled American Wagyu beef with baby kale. The meal concluded after the show with a strawberry cheesecake with ginger sorbet and a ginger zest vodka cocktail with gold leaf flakes.
Attending to laud their friend, Erin Foster donned a maroon velvet suit while sister Sara chose a gray shimmering gown from Zoe: “You’re bringing major Gwyneth Paltrow Gucci vibes, and I’m very Studio 54,” Sara joked to her sister.
“Our friends are always on the hustle, they’re always killing it, they’re so ambitious,” said Erin. “All our friends are doing stuff,” Sara added.
“We’re really proud of Rachel. She’s a really good friend, she’s always supportive of us, and we’re always supportive of her.” Erin said she likes Zoe’s suits: “ I love that she can do masculine and feminine very well,” while Sara said “Her clothes truly fit me like a glove. Her suits are my favorite, actually.”
Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) told THR, “Right now I love that I can wear this particular jumpsuit without Spanx or a bra, and I feel awesome. I feel like I’m wearing pajamas.”
It’s this quality of experience Zoe wants to bring to customers for her first store opening this month: “I wanted to bring it to life,” Zoe said. She was apprehensive when Caruso first approached her, “but you can’t really say no to him. He’s obviously the master at the retail experience” as the brains behind the Grove, where Zoe had a pop up in 2016.
Her shop, featuring her collection, store exclusives, one-of-a-kind hand-beaded pieces and a curated selection of vintage, will also offer a lounge area for guests. Staff trained by Zoe will help shoppers develop their personal style. “It will be a real experience…I want them to feel like they’re getting styled.”
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