The Blond and the Short of It: Rachel Zoe Poaches My Fashion Week Klieg Lights

doonan 11 The Blond and the Short of It: Rachel Zoe Poaches My Fashion Week Klieg Lights"Excuse me! Excuse me!” Shove! Shove!

The tall PR chick with the headset and the plangent voice was clearly intent on publicly buggering me with her clipboard if I did not get the hell out of her way and allow her to escort some celeb or other to its front-row seat.

The rib-mangling crush outside the Rag & Bone fall 2009 fashion show, held at the Cedar Lake Theater on Friday, Feb. 13, took me by surprise. What happened to the kinder and gentler Fashion Week we had all been anticipating? Smaller shows, more “realness,” a calm and caring vibration, that was the word on the street during the run-up. It would appear that the recession—or “the reception” as my malapropism-prone pal Milly De Cabrol, the interior-decorating genius, keeps calling it—has increased, rather than decreased, the lemminglike stampede into the World of Fashion. 

“EXCUSE ME!”

Being the team player that I am, I capitulated and stepped aside to allow the flack to do her “job.” Imagine my surprise when I saw, not Madonna and Jesus (the new Brazilian boy toy as opposed to the beloved Nazarene) being whisked past me, but golden-tressed stylist Rachel Zoe and her husband.

As I took my seat, I began to ask myself deep, existential questions: Does Rachel Zoe have THAT much more wattage than me? Am I less than the dust on her chariot wheels? Or, is there a simpler explanation: Am I just a spotlight-grabber who cannot bear it when the klieg lights are aimed at cheekbones other than my own?

Don’t answer that!

All existential concerns and nagging worries about “the reception” were erased on Saturday, Feb. 14, when I attended a fashion show celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mattel’s Barbie doll. Talk about a freaky scene! Courtney Love’s song “Doll Parts” kick-started what turned out to be the most entertaining and escapist, no-expense-spared event of the week. Clearly the toy biz is “reception-proof.” Fifty designers created 50 deranged looks, one for each year of Barbie’s life. She is only six years younger than me, but I have to admit, that skinny bitch is looking good!

Why did I love this extravaganza so much?

Firstly, it was great to go to a runway show where I was not the shortest attendee. This was due to the presence of many, many small children. Secondly, the clothes were a lot of fun. The angst-ridden pretension that currently dogs most fashion shows was totally missing. Here was the kind of exuberant fashion explosion that could conceivably get women back into the stores to shop full price.

Thirdly, and most importantly, I loved it because me and my Jonny were totally feted and VIP’d and spot-lit. God, it felt good to have those lights aiming in the right direction once more! It was our Rachel Zoe moment. It was our turn to be whisked in ahead of the irate teeming masses, many of whom were, as I have mentioned, satisfyingly more truncated than yours truly.

Honesty compels me to admit that it was my husband attracting all the heat. Here’s why: Mr. Jonathan Adler has spent the last few months designing a human-scaled version of Barbie’s Malibu Dream House, unveiling March 9 in, you guessed it, Malibu! For reals! Yes, my husband is all up in Ms. Barbie’s business. And he has become totally obsessed. The phrase “Barbie’s Malibu Dream House” pops out of his mouth continually. He never mentions “the reception” any more.

Take a tip from my Jonny: Find an escape hatch in these dark times. Create your own infantile pink fantasy world. Hopefully when you emerge a few years from now, “the reception” will be over.

sdoonan@observer.com