Rachel Zoe's Grateful Dead Past Explained

Douglas Friedman
Rachel Zoe and Rodger Berman

The most powerful stylist in Hollywood has a surprisingly crunchy past. THR investigates Zoe's Deadhead pedigree, which includes seeing 30 shows, a third of the number her husband Rodger Berman attended during the 80s and 90s.

If you're a regular viewer of Bravo's The Rachel Zoe Project and a Grateful Dead fan, you might have picked up on several mentions the celebrity stylist has made of the band -- from "Scarlet Begonia," (referencing the Dead's 1974 song "Scarlet Begonias"), which Rachel Zoe thought would make a great name for her and husband Rodger Berman's future daughter (the two are having a boy, expected any day now) to "Casey Jones," one of the band's best-known "hits" (if ever they had one) and the name of the couples' dog.

So what exactly is the story of Rachel Zoe's Deadhead past? As touched upon in THR's cover story this week, Zoe and Berman saw their share of shows back in their college days, when both attended Washington, D.C.'s George Washington University. Berman has been to 91 Dead shows. Zoe: 30.

"I would have seen more but Jerry kicked it," says Berman, referring to frontman Jerry Garcia's 1995 death. The president of Rachel Zoe Inc. traveled as far as California and Wisconsin's Alpine Valley to see the band in the 80s. "But never overseas," he continues. "Damn, I should have!" 

Zoe, on the other hand, doesn't have any regrets about her years as a Deadhead -- not when it comes to drug use in that scene or the fashions. Of the former, Zoe says, "We would be in the parking lot drinking wine coolers. I've always been the good girl." As for what she wore as her friends and then boyfriend noodled to their hearts' delight? "I was not in tye-dyes and Birks," she assures. "I still got dressed up. I was wearing heeled wedges, kaftans, cute little dresses and jewels." 

And it doesn't end there! For their 1997 wedding at New York City's swank Rainbow Room, Zoe and Berman's first dance was to the Dead's "Peggy-O" and the two walked down the aisle to the tune of the classic "Truckin'."  "We were all Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, gown and black tie with my parents' friends all dripping in glamour and diamonds. And they were, like, 'We don't know this song,'" she says. "It was hilarious."

And while RZI may be making bank these days, the couples' hippie roots are still in tact. Adds Zoe: "Rodger still has the tye-dye sheet that hung on his wall in college! We bring it [on vacation] to St. Barts with us."