To Rachel Zoe, Style is Not in the Eye of the Beholder

rsz 82666684 To Rachel Zoe, Style is Not in the Eye of the BeholderOn Thursday, September 4, NBC Universal threw a party on the rooftop of Gramercy Park Hotel in honor of Rachel Zoe‘s new show on Bravo, The Rachel Zoe Project, and invited her dearest fashionable friends for the occasion.

One of the first guests to arrive was designer Gilles Mendel of J. Mendel, who this year has opted for a still life presentation instead of a runway show. 

"For many, many years people have told me that would be great for them to look at my clothes closely," said Mr. Mendel. "It’s about showing clothes in a museum so that you can look closer and longer. For the kind of clothes I make there is a need for more interaction." 

Mr. Mendel told Daily Transom that he has a tendency to freak out as the day of his show approaches.

"If you see me at 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning, I’ll be rollerblading," said Mr. Mendel about the days leading up to his show, which will be on Sept. 11. "A few years ago I was a skier on a skiing team, and rollerblading, in my mind, is the closest thing to skiing.

"It’s a way for me to relax, so I go to Central Park every morning and rollerblade," he added. 

Following in the procession of Ms. Zoe’s friends—who included Tommy Hilfiger, Diane von Furstenberg, and Molly Sims—was Project Runway season four winner Christian Siriano.

The first thing he did after winning the show? He went to Williamsburg!

"I feel like nobody there works, I love it," he said of his trust-fund-kid-populated neighborhood. Mr. Siriano was wearing patent leather shoes and gold suspenders. "All day long everyone is just chill and cool and the fashion is crazy! Skinny jeans and grungy T-shirts; it’s very bohemian. Probably a little too grunge for me, but it’s still cool," he added. (He noted that model Agyness Deyn is his next-door neighbor.)

The Daily Transom wondered if he’s yet joined the hoards of people who lay out in McCarren park on weekend—and often weekdays—sunning themselves.

“Uh, no. I’m not really there yet. Baby steps,” he replied.

While awaiting Ms. Zoe’s arrival—two hours later—the Daily Transom spotted an elderly couple somewhat uncomfortably posing for the photographers. The woman was short, wearing a lightweight blouse in a loud pattern of black and white, her pitch black hair hair-sprayed into a style not unlike Marie’s from Everybody Loves Raymond. The gentleman was outfitted in a relatively toned-down suit.

But, then we noticed something. Those pouchy cheeks. The catty eyes. The massive canary diamond on the woman’s finger. The pride beaming off of them. These were Ms. Zoe’s parents! 

"I always thought she was very creative," said Leslie Rosenzweig, Ms. Zoe’s mother, after she and Ron Rosenzweig, Ms. Zoe’s father, delivered a few lines about how proud they were. 

According to Ms. Rosenzweig, her daughter has always had a tendency to tell people what to wear. 

"When she was in third grade she started dressing my friend’s son," she said. "He was really handsome, but she didn’t like the way he dressed so she told him that he would never have a girlfriend unless she dressed him."

So the presumably eight or nine-year-old Ms. Zoe marched over to the boy’s house after school and asked to be escorted to "Doug’s" closet.

"She went up, took out all of the clothes, put them on the bed, and made outfits for him for every day," said Ms. Rosenzweig, again, with pride. (Poor little Doug!)

Just as her parents were talking to the Daily Transom, Ms. Zoe finally arrived, her thin frame outfitted in a stunning gold dress. She and her parents waved to one another.

We wondered if Ms. Zoe felt strongly one way or another about shows starting on time this year. (You might remember that she got locked out of the Marc Jacobs show last year.)

"Listen, if they start on time or start late, I’m going to be there either way," she said. "Last year I was like two or three minutes late. It was hard because he’s one of my closest friends so that was a very traumatizing moment for me."

We wanted to ask if Mr. Jacobs was upset when he found out that one of his "closest friends" wasn’t let into the show, but Ms. Zoe’s publicist had taken to politely tapping us on the elbow every time we asked a supposedly inappropriate question. 

Alas, we had to go for something that would be easier for Ms. Zoe to answer. What are we to expect of her reality television debut this fall?

"You can expect to be educated about this business," she said.