Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I die. D-I-E, die.

Celebrities! Fur! Shiny things! Absurd catchphrases! The Rachel Zoe Project offers you all this and more. This Bravo TV “docudrama,” we are given a look inside the madcap, surreal life of Rachel Zoe, celebrity stylist. The show is centered on Zoe, her career, her marriage, and her relationships with her employees (as well as their less-than-stellar relationships with each other). Impossibly over the top, yet bizarrely irresistible, it capitalizes on American consumerism and obsession with celebrity, or at least with the celebrity lifestyle. In the fifth episode, Zoe is busy styling celebs for the Independent Spirit Awards and gearing up for the Oscars, while simultaneously trying to maintain her relationship with her husband/business partner (whose hair I can only describe as… floppy).

The episode opens with footage of Zoe and her husband, Rodger, sitting next to each other talking about how they feel like they never see each other. It then cuts to Zoe talking about how busy she is, driving around in her preposterously large sunglasses, looking for things for the Oscars. The producers, in their ever subtle manner, cut to images of every high-end store Los Angeles has to offer, even though Zoe is headed to a small vintage-looking boutique that no one has ever heard of. She then heads home to discuss the Independent Spirit Awards (or “Indies”) with her assistants. And right about when I see what Zoe is wearing, I stop paying attention to whatever storyline there may be. Instead I’m pondering the apparent Pomeranian that has been splayed across her shoulders. I mean, really, is that necessary? It only gets worse when I see what her assistant, Taylor, is wearing. It’s what I imagine an Olson twin would wear to the ski lodge. Except more… blindingly bright. Here’s where this show loses me: Zoe is touted as one of the most successful stylists around (and I have read articles wherein she seems more than aware of that fact), and I acknowledge that some of the looks she styles are quite nice. But between those you have a whole lot of crazy!! Take this look for the Indies, worn by Molly Sims. Zoe describes it as “Bananas. Amazing.” I don’t know what that means; I do know that the dress is all sorts of weird. At least Zoe acknowledges that it looks like Sims forgot to wear pants. Add to all this that Zoe herself can’t exactly be described as a peach (although her catchphrases are absolutely fantastic. But she literally does not smile this whole episode), and it makes it hard to understand why she is so successful.

I have to admit, though, that the show is entertaining. Zoe certainly isn’t charming, but she says and wears ridiculous things that make the show interesting and fun. It can get irritating though, especially in today’s climate. Zoe’s lifestyle, occupation, and attitude are unequivocally shallow considering America’s economic troubles. It will be interesting to see if the show can survive another season of such decadence. Still, I absolutely love it whenever Zoe exclaims, “I die. D-I-E, die.” So do I, Rachel. So do I.

Lydia Zodda

P.S. As a parting gift, I thought I'd share with you possibly my favorite outfit from the episode. Here is Zoe shopping with her sister:It's bananas.

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