Rachel Zoe canceled the fall 2014 fashion show she had planned for New York Fashion Week in February to spend more time with her new baby, Kaius Jagger, born in late December. But New York's loss was L.A.'s gain.
The stylist-designer presented her collection at the Soho House here Friday, holding appointments with informal modeling and using the opportunity to talk up her new book too.
Her inspiration for the season was Mod 1960s with a Parisian twist. "Pierre Cardin and Courreges, all those black-and-white images of women wearing big houndstooth and plaid. ... It's menswear-inspired but glamorous — like all the French girls I want to be so badly who run around Paris looking great without really trying," she says.
Exhibit A: Cropped black-and-white tweed pants with suspenders, and a matching long-line jacket with black leather details, worn with flat, lace-up brogues. "But you could also wear that suit with a lady pump, a top knot and a lip and make it sexy," offers Zoe, ever the stylist.
The look is less diaphanous boho-goddess and more tomboy-tailored and polished than we've seen previously from the designer, who launched her contemporary collection in 2011. "People aren't wearing caftans with 400 pounds of jewelry, they are wearing this — a bomber jacket over a suede mini dress, or a chunky knit sweater with leather pants," she says.
To wit, the collection is full of wearable pieces — a bouclé biker jacket, wide-leg leather trousers, wool crepe shift dresses and popover tops.
But there is also plenty for fans of Zoe's brand of Hollywood glam, including a sexy black jersey tuxedo jumpsuit that will retail for less than $500, a plush black-velvet tuxedo, a sleeveless chiffon top swinging black fringe, a glam fur vest and a black-and-white crepe jersey gown with cutout sides that can be worn "with heels or combat boots and a leather jacket," she says.
Zoe, whose first son, Skylar, is now 3, enjoys talking motherhood as much as fashion. "He's had two rounds of 20 stitches in his head," she says. "He's an accident waiting to happen. But not one of them is his fault. It's always when he's doing something sweet."
Next Tuesday, she will release her second book, titled "Living in Style: Inspiration and Advice for Everyday Glamour," co-written with style journalist Monica Corcoran Harel.
The book has a little bit of everything — decorating, beauty and entertaining tips, what to wear to the office, how to set your table, and etiquette advice. "It's about how to live a glamorous life without trying too hard," says Zoe.
There's a photo of her childhood home in Short Hills, N.J. — airy, sun-filled and '60s-modern. "My parents are way cooler than me," Zoe says. "I grew up with Eames, Noguchi and contemporary art. Back then, I didn't know or care what any of it was. I just thought my parents were weird."
A chapter on how to travel in style features some of Zoe's famous pals waxing poetic about their favorite places: designer Prabal Gurung on Nepal, polo player Nacho Figueras on Buenos Aires, Burberry chief executive and designer Christopher Bailey on London.
There's even a recipe for her "Bananas bread," a name that refers to the "bananas" saying she popularized on her reality-TV show "The Rachel Zoe Project."
"I'm a weirdly good cook," Zoe laughs. "I excel at baking. Skylar won't let me pack his lunch without him helping. But since Kaius was born, I haven't turned on the oven."
Though she has no plans to be in front of reality-TV cameras again anytime soon, she is working on developing a new TV project. "It will not be Part 2 of my personal life," she says. "It will be visible, but in a cool, business way."