Fall Fashions: Interview Celebrity Designer And Former Short Hills Resident Rachel Zoe

Rachel Zoe has spent years in the limelight as a designer, celebrity stylist and star of The Rachel Zoe Project, which enjoyed a five-year run on Bravo. With all that exposure, her fans may think they know everything about her.

So they might be surprised to learn that she credits her Millburn High School English Lit teacher, Ellen Krueger—who’s still on staff at MHS—with changing her life. Or that she wants to provide parents of boys — her sons, Skylar and Kai, are now 7 and 4, respectively — with more clothing options. Or that she has a new clothing line, The Zoe by Rachel Zoe collection, that recently became available at Macy’s.

What memories do you have of growing up in Short Hills?

I remember it being family-friendly, safe and a beautiful place to grow up. I played tennis, went to the parks and made incredible friends. If I were in Short Hills now, I would be able to drive to the Millburn Diner, the Bagel Chateau and Lysistrata Pizza. I don’t know if they’re still there, but if they are, I’d remember the way. And I’ll never forget my Millburn High School English Lit teacher, Ellen Krueger, who changed my life; Anne Hathaway also had her as a teacher. She was just amazing, and we became friends. I learned to love to learn because of her. And I realized that if I was interested in something, I could succeed in it.

Were you always drawn to the fashion world?

I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. At George Washington University, I majored in psychology and sociology. I was always into fashion, but I didn’t know you could make a career out of it. People can go to school for it now, but that wasn’t the case then. I was just trying to find my way after I graduated. I got a job from a friend of a friend as a fashion assistant at a magazine called “YM,” and started styling in the fashion department.

You’re credited with launching the “bo-ho chic style.” How did that come about?

The truth is, I always had my own style, whether people liked it or not. Whether it was a good or a bad thing, I didn’t care. I just wanted to look different from the others. I always wore a lot of accessories and jewelry, and I always wanted to counter what other people were doing. If others were in jeans, I was in a dress; if they were in dresses, I wore a tank top. I was attracted to the glamour of the ‘60s and ‘70s, and wanted to emulate the disco era. I found it the most beautiful. It worked with my style and body type, it was effortless yet glamourous, and not too formal.

As a stylist, you’ve worked with Nicole Richie, Cameron Diaz, Keira Knightly, Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Garner and other celebrities. What guides you when you take on a client?

I’ll ask: What are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to change what you look like, or is there one style that you love and identify with? If you’re going to be seen while you’re working on a movie, what’s the message that you want to put out there? Somber? Subdued? Outside your comfort zone? It’s the mission of my business to educate women so they’re not afraid of fashion. They can style themselves easily and look like the right version of themselves.

Last year, you collaborated on a kids’ clothing line called Paul Frank x Rachel Zoe. Do you think you might create more styles for children in the future?

I definitely plan to get into kids’ fashion going forward. I’ve been interested ever since I was pregnant with my first son, and it’s the question that I get asked the most. People need to put more love into boys’ lines — 90 percent is for girls! There needs to be more options and diversity.

Now that your kids are school-age, what do you hope they’ll learn, both academically and socially?

My kids are really bright, and they have a lot of street savvy; we’ve exposed them to a lot since they were born, and they’re good with any age and type of people. They’re very social kids, very adaptable. As a parent, your kids come out a certain way, and the rest is up to you. I think they’ll do well in school. I’m not concerned about grades; I care more that they’re empathetic, sympathetic, and understand that there are many kids who don’t have what they have. I just want them to come out of school the way they went in – as kind, wonderful kids with huge hearts.

What advice do you have for young people starting out in their careers?

Know that you need to pay your dues. This generation makes a mistake in thinking that they can jump to the top while skipping a lot of the stuff in between. You need to do the work to get where you need to be, and to be grateful for mistakes made and learning from people above you.

Your reality show, ‘The Rachel Zoe Project,’ ran for five years on Bravo. Is another TV show in your future?

People really identified with it — I hear about it every day. Doing the show was really good because it gave people an inside look as to what the fashion industry is like on the inside, and what being a stylist means. It’s still the best form of marketing for a business to be on TV. But after I had kids, I didn’t want the camera all over them, and it’s a ton of work. I’ll do TV again, but it has to be the right opportunity, done in the right way.

What are your immediate plans?

I’ll be showing my spring 2019 collection in Los Angeles on Sept. 4, and the line will be available for purchase in February. That’s the crazy fashion industry timeline.


Glamsquad magazine is an independently operated online fashion, beauty, style, entertainment, and health blog. Its features are both inspirational and accessible, giving our followers a scoop on what's trending now in the fashion, beauty, style, and entertainment industry.

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