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Rachel Zoe And Ken Downing Talk Fashion At Neiman’s

Tess Goodwin |
August 26, 2011 | 10:46 a.m. PDT

Fashion Editor

Rachel Zoe and Ken Downing (photos by Tess Goodwin)
Rachel Zoe and Ken Downing (photos by Tess Goodwin)
Imagine being in Rachel Zoe’s living room and her friend Ken Downing (the vice president and fashion director of Neiman Marcus) just happens to be there, and they are just talking candidly about Zoe’s collection while models saunter through the room showing off her beautifully designed pieces. This is what it felt like at Neiman Marcus’s presentation of Rachel Zoe’s new collection on Wednesday night in Beverly Hills.

Arranged as a classical fashion presentation, the audience enjoyed both the effortless and chic collection which included everything from a white tuxedo to a navy one-shoulder sequin dress as well as Zoe and Downing’s repartee. 

“When Ken and I were talking about the collection earlier I asked him if he thought there was too much leopard,” said Zoe. 

“You can never have too much leopard,” said Downing. 

There was a lot leopard in the collection but it ranges from being obvious like in a one-shoulder flutter mini dress to being subtle like in the black glitter print of her “Diane” dress, named after Diane Von Furstenberg.

Throughout the presentation of these clothes, Zoe and Downing’s commentary lit up the room with smiles and laughter. 

“You can eat cheese burgers for days in this dress,” said Zoe about a white and black sequined mini dress. “Seriously! I was so pregnant in this dress, you would’t believe how comfortable it is,” exclaimed Zoe.

The dresses were many and all of them beautiful, simple, and chic but the real crème de la crème came from the rich coats, blazers, and a stunning camel wool cape with leather trim that Zoe herself wrapped around numerous guests, giving each one advice about how to style it.

In the words of Downing, “ensemble dressing” has finally come back into style and has allowed Zoe to create looks that stepped out of the 1940s and the 1970s. Pairing her high-waisted wide-leg pants in black, camel, or tweed with a blazer or military jacket, her clothes are the epitome of classic style and also highly functional.

Besides the meticulous and perfect design and general genius of the whole collection, the price and functionality of each piece cannot be overlooked. Almost everything in the collection is transitive from day to night and able to be worn with flats, heels, or booties as well as with jeans, trousers, or tights.

“I wanted people to actually buy the clothes, not just look at them,” said Zoe. And with most of her dresses under $500 and her shoes under $300, people were snatching them up like they were afraid her whole collection was going to sell out that minute.

The looks were styled simply but they Zoe managed to “bring tension with edgy accessories,” said Downing. Each of the flirty and glamourous mini-dresses were paired with booties and the most flirty of them all, a deep rose ruffled mini with flutter sleeves, was paired with stunning spike earrings. 

Zoe’s collection is for a woman of any age, height, or body type. “During designing this collection, I was really thinking about women’s bodies,” said Zoe. Through her experience styling, she noticed what type of fits women had problems with and what clothes were flattering and what were not. 

“My mission in life is to give us all legs for days,” said Zoe. And with her high-waisted, wide-leg pants, mini dresses, and thigh-high boots, she comes one step closer to accomplishing that goal. 

Reach writer Tess Goodwin here 



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