Hi. I’m so happy to be here. This is so fun. So much fun, I should say. I used to say, “So fun,” and then I remember either a teacher or my mom or dad correcting me with, “So much fun.”
I’m drinking some lovely white wine with ice because I find when I add ice, it just slows things down. It’s slower and it’s better and it lasts longer. How’s that?
No we are not. It’s an interesting question because I’ve been really in my head about my birthday. It’s been such a precarious time in life, I think for everybody. Ultimately on an emotional level, I’ve never been happier. Because as we get older, we just get to that more peaceful place, right? Things that used to really make you mental just don’t anymore, or not in the same way. But I will say, I think I’m going to forever go with 35 and call it a day. After 35 I just said, “Okay, this is it. I’m not counting anymore. This is the last birthday for me, and forever it will be my 35th.” My little son, Kaius, believes that I’m 24. Not because I told him that, but because he asked me how old I was and I said, “How old do you want me to be?” And he said, “23.” And I said, “That’s a great number.” And so I’m just going with it.
I will be honest with you. I think J-Lo, I think some of these incredible women that we see getting even better and stronger with age is such an incredible thing for women to see. I do very admittedly say that getting older is not easy and it’s not great. There are great things about it, but it’s also really hard. It’s not easy and we are only going in one direction. We’re not Benjamin Button. So in full disclosure, I don’t love my birthday. I use it as a really great excuse to see my friends and celebrate life.
Oh, we’re getting older.
You look in the mirror sometimes and it’s a challenge. But at the same time, it beats the alternative. We are alive.
My mother says that to me. She does, and my mother will be 80 next year. She says, “Embrace every year because think of the alternative.” All of a sudden that grounds you and shifts you into a totally different mindset. We just have to go with it. I’m celebrating life and not making it about my birthday necessarily, but about embracing all the good things. Because I am very blessed. I just think you have to start mentally being there, if that makes sense.
Getting introspective about these wild COVID times in which we are living, have you learned anything or would you say anything has changed about yourself?
I don’t know that it changed me. I think I went deeper into a place I already knew was there. Meaning I remember when COVID first happened, there was an Instagram post going around that said something like, “Are you an extrovert that realized you’re an introvert? Are you an introvert that realized you’re an extrovert? Are you an extrovert that realized you really are an extrovert? You’re an introvert that really realized you’re an introvert?” And people think of me as such an extrovert, but I really am — and as you may know because you’re a Virgo — a secret homebody.When I became a mom, it just completed me in a way. I thought, “If this is it right now, if I’m just here with my husband and my kids, I’m so fulfilled. I think in COVID, for me not to have to go out to events every night, sit in hair and makeup – I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, because I love my job and I love all that comes with it —but as you know and every working parent knows, leaving your kids is just hard.
So, to not have that pull and feeling like you’re in a tug of war all the time was nice. I realized how much I love being with my kids and my family. Nothing is more fun to me, honestly. It’s weird. It might be because I had my kids later in life and I did so much prior to becoming a mother that I didn’t have that same FOMO that maybe some young moms have about missing their twenties or thirties or whatever it is, even though I’m only 35.
You have a podcast with your husband Rodger called “Works For Us.” You have managed to stay together for three decades, but surely that has come with challenges. How do you keep going together as one?
Here’s the thing. It’s very interesting because we’ve been married 24 years and together for 30. We’ve basically grown up together. I’ve been with him more than half my life. We parent together, we work together. That’s where it’s really insane, actually, in my opinion. I came up as a stylist and that was always working at home and in my studio. So, going back to my Virgo-ness, my space is very sacred. I need quiet. Having him in the house full time, I said, “No, no, you need an offset office.”
So, the challenges are that we approach things differently. The things that irritate him don’t irritate me and vice versa, but we are the same at the core. We have the same values. We have the same moral compass. We approach parenting and our priorities for our children are the same. Ultimately, we just kind of get each other. Probably once a day, I want to kill him. You know what I mean? Not literally kill him, just like, scream at him. It’s like Lucy and Ricky. That’s what I always say. We are so much like a modern-day Lucy and Ricky. For those of you listening that may be really young, it’s “I Love Lucy” and Ricky. We bicker, but our recovery rate is lightning speed. We’ll bicker and then ask, “What do you want for dinner?” Or, “What time are we getting the kids?” Or, “Did you see Skyler’s math quiz?” I think it’s just what happens when you’re together for that long. My parents are the same way. They’ve been together 55 years, and it’s the same. Ultimately, they love each other so much more than they want to fight with each other, if that makes sense.
As Rodger always says on “Works For Us,” one of the big ways to succeed in a relationship is you have to root for each other. You can’t compete with one another. You have to root for each other. If you are not rooting for each other and you’re not on the same team, it will never work. Rodger has never held me back. He has never not wanted me to win and vice versa. That’s a big part of it. I have never once questioned where he is when he’s not with me. That’s another thing. Trust is not a thought. If trust is a thought, you can’t succeed. You can not, at least for me. Because if trust is broken, it’s done. There is no turning back.
Facts. Actual facts, Rachel. Okay, what’s fashion going to be serving post-pandemic?
Honestly, from what I saw this summer… I was on the East Coast all summer and it was full-on. People were dressed up for nothing … People who have found their comfort in flats and leisure-wear are staying there and they will dress up only when they have to, because they can, because most people are still working from home. I don’t know if that’ll change. Even when people go back to the office, it will not be the way it was. And then I think that there are people just dying to get dressed again. And I think that those people will really go there. I mean, I found myself in a full-on sequin gown just to go to a cocktail party this summer. I thought, “Well, I got this pre-pandemic. I might as well wear it.” I feel like you just dress up for you. You dress up for how you feel and you dress for yourself. That works for me. I get overdressed because it’s easier for me. Dressing up in a faux fur and big jewelry and five minute makeup for Zoom-life for me was just easier than not.
Do you have any advice for women, pandemic or no pandemic, who lose themselves in not feeling their best because they surrender to all the other priorities in life?
I think the number one thing for women is that you have to surround yourself with great women. I love women and I’ve also had women be really horrible to me in my life. I’ve also had women be incredible to me in my life. I find when I have people around me, and I know it sounds so cliché , but that really root for you and lift you up when you need it the most, it’s actually life-changing. Because as we get older, it’s just so much harder for us. It just is. I’m sorry to the guys out there because I love guys, but I think that they have it easier. It’s generally speaking, but I think that society’s harder on us as we get older. I think we’re harder on us as we get older. Men think, “I look better than I did when I was 30.” “Great. Okay.” For us, it’s incredibly important that the people we spend the most time with are truly good, and they truly know when you’re feeling like crap and they truly know when you need a lift.
For me, that’s made a world of difference. It really has. Sometimes as women, no matter how blessed we are… because all we care about is the health of our children and the health of the people closest to us. You still look in the mirror and think, “God, ugh. This is not fun. This is not fair. This is not what I signed up for. I didn’t look like this even five years ago.” It’s hard because society, for whatever reason, especially this industry that we’re in does have an age. We pretend it doesn’t. We’re trying to change it, but it does. All of those things make it harder on us. My advice is for any woman, no matter what industry you’re in, no matter what your life is, you absolutely have to surround yourself with people that really genuinely want you to win and genuinely know when you really need them there and genuinely lift you up when you really need it, because I think that we do. We all do. And anyone you think doesn’t, it’s not true. They do.
I also think that social media has had a tremendous impact on women’s self-confidence, on everybody’s, to be honest. And I love social media, but I also think it has a real impact on people for better or for worse.
To hear you say that, thank you. Because it affects everybody, regardless of how much you’ve accomplished, or what you’ve done…
Or how successful you are…
Or how fairytale it looks… it can be unhealthy if you don’t have that perspective you’re talking about and the community that you’re talking about.
We can’t see it in ourselves. No matter how much you’re winning, no matter how much you accomplish, no matter how much you have, that’s not what you’re thinking about. You’re thinking, “What haven’t I done? Oh my God, I’m this age and I haven’t done any of these things that I thought I would do.” All of us go through it. We just do. We’re human.
For all of the women entrepreneurs building businesses… you’ve sustained so much while also having a family. When challenges have presented themselves, how do you move through them, how do you detach and not soak in the failures?
I get asked this a lot from aspiring entrepreneurs and people who want to build a brand and people who want to get into fashion. I’ve worked for myself, only, since I was 25 years old. And with that, everyone always says, “Well, you work for yourself, you can take however much vacation you want.” I’m like, “Okay, I’m taking a vacation in a decade. Cool.” But the thing is, you have to decide if you’re built for that, because the highs are the highest, the lows are the lowest. It’s hard to get yourself out of it sometimes, but the passion will always drive you. That’s the thing.
But it’s not for everyone. Sometimes people think, “I want to be a CEO. You can only be a CEO, and if you’re not a CEO, then you haven’t made it.” That’s not true. It’s actually not for everybody, and not everyone is built for that. You have to have insanely thick skin, you have to know you’re never going to be totally off. You’re just not, because if you don’t answer, bad things happen. If I don’t respond… it’s not an option.
Of course I’ve had failures. If you ask anyone that works with me, they’d say, “When? I don’t remember any.” To me, I’ve had countless, of course. But I think the key there, again, this is where I consider myself to be very lucky, is that Rodger’s my partner, he’s my co-CEO. Before he was that, he was an investment banker, he worked incredibly hard, he built several businesses, but he always was my support and sounding board. When my life was insane, which it always has been, he was this safe place. When it felt like it was too much, when I needed to unravel, when I broke down into tears, to have that person there to talk you down, keep you here. When you’re alone, there’s a spiral you can go down that is unstoppable. If you don’t have that safe person, whoever it is… It could be your best friend, your sister, your parent. Between my sister, my parents, my team, and Rodger, I’ve always had this extraordinary support system around me. When I felt like I was falling, they’d say, “You’re not. You’re insane, you’re not falling, this is great.” You need those people to say, “Get out of your head.” Because it’s so easy for us to do, at least for me, to think, “I can’t believe you did that. I can’t.”
There’s nothing I trip over more than myself, and I think that the most important thing for people, building a career for women in a slump, it’s really important to find your passion, find your thing that is going to wake you up in the morning and make you want to win and excite you and drive you.
Do you know how many women I know that have started careers at 40, 45, 50, and just crush it? They’re just excited about something again, they wanted a purpose again. There’s no time limit on building a business, there’s no age on that. Again, not to be redundant, but I don’t know that I could be sitting here, where I am, talking to you and doing anything I do in my life without Rodger, without the five people on my team, even three, one’s sitting right here, for nine years she’s like a sister. If you have those people, when you unravel, it’s okay. But you do need somebody you do.
I’m in eighth grade and I was wondering if you have any fashion advice for eighth graders, or your favorite stores for young kids?
There’s so many. Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Zara, H&M. Honestly, I think being an eighth grader, that’s such a critical time, as a girl and young woman. For me, eighth grade was very pivotal. I really found myself in eighth grade; I found my voice. I found my confidence in who I was and who I wanted to be, because when you come out of lower school, you are whatever your friends are. You’re just acclimating. When I turned 14, I remember thinking, “Okay, this is who I am,” and that’s when I figured out my style. I definitely started overdressing, I definitely started accessorizing a lot and having fun with clothes. I definitely did not show as much skin as I’ve seen girls your age showing, here in L.A.
But it’s about finding your groove in fashion now, and figuring out who you admire in the fashion world, or just from a style perspective. Navigating that and starting to play with it, because fashion should always be fun, especially at your age. My biggest advice would be to be you. At your age, that’s the kind of thing that’s the biggest struggle, to have your individuality and not fear judgment from peers. This is really prime time for when you can start to navigate your style. And don’t wear too much makeup, you’re so pretty.
I’m expecting a baby any day now, and I’m super passionate about my career; it’s my whole life. I’m wondering, how did you manage your passion for being a mother and your career?
The truth is, when I went on my hospital tour here at Cedars in L.A, I was eight and a half months pregnant. I was really enjoying my pregnancy and I was so obsessed with my career, I think I worked 26 hours a day. I remember looking at Rodger in the hospital room and saying, “I’m not doing this.” He said, “What are you talking about?” I said, “I’m not doing this, I can’t do it, I’m too scared. I don’t know how I’m going to do it. I don’t have time to take a shower, I genuinely don’t know how I’m going to do both of these things. I don’t know how I’m going to be Rachel Zoe, I don’t know how I’m going to work, I don’t know how I’m going to mom and be a great mom.” And also, I was terrified to give birth. So all of those things.
And then Sky came into this world. He came into my hands and it’s like the ground just shifted. To be fully honest, my head was really in another place for almost a full year. I was not back in my groove. It took me a minute, because I didn’t want to miss a thing. I brought him to work and I built a nursery. I opened a nursery in my office because there were so many babies that year, and I wanted all the moms to be able to have their babies at work. As he got older, I figured out that separation was actually okay. When he started preschool I thought, “Okay, this is healthy, this is normal.” Then I had my second son, and I got back into the groove pretty quickly and realized that I could still be a really hands-on mom.
I haven’t had a nanny in three years, I don’t want to miss anything. The answer is, there is no formula. Go easy on yourself. Don’t listen to anybody, because everyone’s story is different, everyone’s journey is different, and everyone’s going to try and tell you what to do, and don’t listen. You will not lose your career, you can do both, but don’t miss the good stuff. That’s my one piece of advice to you, because you look young. Don’t miss the stuff with your kids because you can’t get it back.
Recently I was talking to a company that I’m investing in, they’re young moms. They were telling me, “I feel like I missed the first three years,” because they’re building a company. The bottom line is you have to navigate your own journey and do what feels right to you. There is inevitably a pull in both directions as a working mother, but don’t try and overplan it. Figure it out as you go. You’ll know immediately what feels right to you.
Are we good with two boys or is that shop still open?
My shop is always going to be open. I swear to God if someone rang my doorbell with twin girls, I would grab them and run. It’s more chaos, more insanity. I wish I had four kids, I feel like there’s nothing better. I enjoy kids so much more than adults, I find them so much more interesting. I find their purity and their innocence and the things they say, just being so un-corrupt, I love their honesty. I love kids. I was also the weird person at kids’ parties without kids, the one with 20 kids while all the parents were drinking wine in the other room. I’ve always been obsessed with kids. I find them fascinating.
Who are you looking forward to seeing during New York Fashion Week this year?
It’s weird because I’m not there, but always Tom Ford. Tom Ford is always a favorite. Prabal Gurung, Joseph Altuzarra, The Row, Oscar De La Renta, Carolina Herrera, always, always beautiful. I mean, so many, but it’s interesting, I’m just trying to see how New York comes back together. Knowing New York, it’s business as usual. I feel like everyone’s just going to bounce right back in. Honestly, I almost flew in just to go to the Tom Ford show, but between COVID and my kids starting school in a new school, I just, mom can’t miss the first day of school.
What is in your CURATEUR box for fall?
CURATEUR is a seasonal subscription. I curate every single piece in every single curation. Fall is beyond amazing, people are obsessed with it, we’ve been getting the absolute best response from it. There’s an insane ParrishLA poncho that you’ll want to live in forever. I curate things that I feel every woman would want and does not know they need. I’m obsessed with it, our customers are obsessed with it, it’s been an incredible business to build and watch the response from our amazing community of women. I’ve always wanted to try and style as many people as I could, and CURATEUR is the way that I do that. Caftans, ponchos, jewelry, beauty, cosmetics, you name it, it’s just fun.
I have a brand that I’ve been building over the last eight years and I’ve always wanted to write a book. What would be your advice for someone trying to stay authentic to my work while writing a book?
Here’s the thing with writing a book, it is so much work. It is such an incredible reward because it’s something you look at forever. My second book, “Living in Style,” was definitely easier because it was my second one. It’s like your second child, they come out quicker. But it is a process. Books are a labor of love and patience. You definitely want to get a great publisher who wants the book, because then you have support and someone who will develop it with you, and a sounding board, someone who knows what works and what doesn’t. That’s very helpful. Images in a book, especially one that’s fashion and beauty-based, you have to have pictures or illustrations, or something to bring it to life. Your book is the sum of your passion. I keep thinking about doing one more book, because I have so much I have to say, but it is an insane amount of work, it really is. I don’t want to discourage you. It’s a process but when it comes out, it’s the greatest, it really is.