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When an event is thrown in celebration of designer-stylist superstar Rachel Zoe, it’s likely a guarantee the party will feature a well-dressed crowd. And on Wednesday night, that was surely the case as CFDA CEO Steven Kolb and Refinery29 editor-in-chief Christene Barberich, with Neiman Marcus fashion director Ken Downing, hosted an intimate outdoor meal at Terrine with Zoe’s husband, Rodger Berman, and closest pals including Derek Blasberg, Soleil Moon Frye, Shiva Rose, Sara Foster, Kelly Sawyer, Juicy Couture founders and Pam and Gela designers Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, and celeb stylists Emily Current and Meritt Elliott.
Zoe, clad in a pastel pink fringe frock from her own line, said having a dinner held in her honor felt “really crazy but in a really good way.” As a longtime friend of Downing and Kolb, the mom of two credits part of her success as a designer to them, sharing that “they’ve been incredible mentors to me throughout my career and peers, too. It’s amazing to call them friends.”
Downing, who first met Zoe when they were seated side by side at an haute couture show years ago, shares the same sentiment. “We realized not only did we have similar taste, we had a similar sense of humor and became immediate friends,” Downing told Pret-a-Reporter as he enjoyed his glass of wine, adding that they’re both Virgos and have the same birthdate (Sept. 1). “She’s such a charming, darling woman and I followed her success from the very beginning.”
While there’s no doubt Zoe “wears many hats” (it’s what her Instagram profile says, after all), it’s the passion in her transition to become a designer that Kolb admires most.
“Her move to being a designer is inspiring because it shows that you don’t always have to take that traditional path. You can be someone who has really good ideas, be really driven and passionate, and take those ideas and make them into something,” said Kolb before sitting down with guests at the “Spotlight Series” dinner and enjoying a menu that included a fromage plate with toasted baguette, brussels sprouts and seasonal wood-oven-roasted veggies, among other delicious dishes.
“It doesn’t always work — not everyone can transition into that — but she’s done it so smoothly. Even in who she is as a woman and colleague, she’s so beloved by designers that I think when she became a designer, it wasn’t like, ‘You’re a stylist, you can’t be a designer.’ They kind of embraced her and welcomed her into the CFDA family,” added Kolb. “That’s what we’re celebrating — the path that she has carved for herself, and the success she has had.”
During the evening, singer-songwriter Caroline Vreeland, the great-granddaughter to the late Diana Vreeland, performed a rendition of Etta James‘ “At Last.” And if you were wondering who came up with the idea for the singer to put on an impromptu performance, it was — you guessed it — Zoe.
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