"Rachel Zoe told me..."

So I was in London for Fashion Week. How glam. Guess I was strutting around from show to show, clad in Theyskens Theory by day and Mary Kantrantzou by night, sipping champagne and blogging regularly from an iPad 2 right? Er... not so much.

I am a nobody as far as LFW goes... a total, stinking nobody.

However, it's not all doom and gloom, so put those violins away. I still managed to get a little taste of what life as a fashion journalism might one day be like- in the form of a Marie Claire 'Inspire&Mentor' Q&A with celebrity super-stylish Rachel Zoe.

You know the one? Super, super skinny lady at the centre of the size 0 (and 00, lets not sell her short now...) furore who  was dragged- voluminous hair first- straight into the Nicole Richie anorexia drama. However, the past is the past and the tabloids are a bitch, so lets not all believe what we read, eh?

The afternoon was about how to get into fashion, so obviously I couldn't resist! It was full of stylish ladies clad in expensive designers vying for complimentary champagne (Pop! no less, what would one expect from Selfridges, eh?) and spying out which pieces from Rachel Zoe's new collection- exclusive to Selfridges- they would add to their extensive and expensive wardrobes.

I mainly wanted the goody bag. But the whole thing was extremely beneficial and certainly warranted a post on SW Fashion.

First up, the actual collection. It is a more sophisticated twist on Rachel's ubiquitous style- she is, of course, the lady who kickstarted that "LA look" that we all coveted for so long. Swirly hair-scarves atop lush honey waves, golden tans that could only be natural, super-skinny jeans for super-skinny legs paired with floaty tops and stacks of bangles and rows of pendants. Oh and those mahoooosive sunglasses that make me look like Willy Wonka but Rachel Zoe et al look like total 1970s glamazons. It's luxurious bohemian, with a dosage of Michael Kors-esque polished glamour in the form of sequins and a winter white tux (mmm delish). A self-confessed magpie, Rachel Zoe couldn't resist pouring sequins into her luxe but affordable range. Well... I say affordable, but i'm a student with a Laduree and Topshop habit- very little is soon to be 'affordable'.

I was furiously typing "words of wisdom" into my iPhone, but my wee fingers couldn't quite keep up with her relaxed Californian drawl so here's my edited-down version of the Rachel Zoe Q&A.

Her totally fail-safe tips for looking fabulous?
*Take that extra five minutes to get yourself ready, make the effort.
*Have a fabulous jacket at the ready that can transform any look (SW Fashion note, the trophy jacket looks to be very on trend SS12! I'd go for sequins or bouclĂ© just now!) just something you can throw on over jeans and tee and look amazing.
*Add a slick of red lipstick- it's all about glamour.
*Wear heels if you are short, but if you're tall wear some fabulous flats. (Rachel Zoe can't live without her heels!)
*It sounds stupid, but comb your hair! Make the effort and you'll look a million times better!
Her design inspiration?
Rachel is less inspired by icons of modern times, as she fears she may veer towards emulating the style rather than merely being inspired. Her AW collection was inspired by icons of bygone eras like the 1960s and 1970s. The only exception is Diane Kruger, who could pull off anything and look impeccable.
Her dream client? (bet you can guess this one...)
It's gotta be the duchess. Rachel loves her polished, princess beauty and thinks she could look fantastic an absolutely anything. Rachel would dress her in the winter-white tux from her collection for a more stylish evening look, and a journey away from her trusty shift dresses, and would love to see her in a beautiful jacket and jeans by day. 
What is the collection all about?

She wanted something that was "not trendy but always on trend". Something that was all about timelessness but still managed to balance that with a fashionable slant. 
Her favourite piece?
Everything in the collection means something to her, but her favourite piece has to be the delicious creamy tux with a 1970s vibe. It's very Angelica Huston in a way, but still modern and so fresh- practical, however? Not so much for Rachel- a new mother!  She also adores her glamourous sequinned pieces (she was wearing the glistening £315 "Linda" cardigan from her range for the event)
Why the move from styling to design, and is it more difficult?
Styling is subjective, but design can be much more judgemental. You want to please the notorious fashion critics and editors, and they are always looking for something a little bit different. 
Does her style change from city to city?
Definitely! She feels London is so much edgier and cooler. She tends to wear more black- though feels that may be down to her son's tendency to "spit up" on her chosen attire. She feels downtown London style is very similar to notorious Downtown NYC style. She also loves that she can embrace London's chilly weather and pack numerous coats and boots. She says she ends up taking about eight cases every trip- because "a Stella chunky knit and a fabulous coat and that's a case!". She feels that European style is much more polished than American style- can't say I agree as I sit blogging this in checked pajama bottoms and a slobby t-shirt!
£315 at Selfridges

Has she ever had a client on the worst dressed list?
Yes, and it was awful! But she stood by the decision to put her client in the dress. It was that common dilemma of high fashion vs mainstream media. The fashion world adored the beautiful, couture gown, but the tabloids totally hated it. She cares more what the fashion world think, however!

The one essential for every look?
Confidence, confidence, confidence. If you look fierce and happy in your outfit, no one will judge you!
How does one succeed in fashion styling/journalism/internships?
You have GOT to be a "worker". A bad attitude will limit your career options indefinitely! Everything must be done with a smile. You must stay late, and come early- show your employer that they can't live without you and they will love you. She once had an intern who turned up to her office, carrying merely two bags, and when Rachel Zoe introduced herself and asked how the intern was she replied "i'm soooo tired." NOT the attitude and Rachel was beyond unimpressed!
What is the key to succeeding in fashion?
You've got to have the contacts! It sounds a cliche, but its all about who you know. Interning is a great way to start your network off. It's such a small business and you need to get your face known! Network, but not superficially, and always be nice!
Which LFW shows will she be visiting in London?
Tom Ford, Burberry, Matthew Williamson and Erdem.
Which designers inspire her?
Tom Ford is a huge influence (quite apparent in the polished luxury of her collection!). She also very much admires "the genius" Karl Lagerfeld, Riccardo Tisci and Marc Jacobs. She says she would totally "wear anything Tom Ford ever made"! Well, wouldn't we all!
One piece of advice that she couldn't live without?
Follow your gut. Find what you love and success will come. Never do it if it doesn't feel right and most importantly, make your own mistakes and be responsible for them!

I absolutely loved the event and would highly recommend keeping up to date with other events on at Selfridges- it was fantastic. Now, if only I had a spare £415 to fork out for the Cameron tuxedo dress- so sexily androgynous but still so timeless... ah, if only.

By Shona Wallace
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