As the result of a rather hasty and informal Twitter poll yesterday, I’ve made the executive decision to recap this season of The Rachel Zoe Project. Although it doesn’t provide as many opportunities for derision and snark as Real Housewives, I’ve always found the series oddly delightful. And that’s so say nothing of the clothes porn.
And so we set out on journey through the…what season is this? Third? Fourth? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that Rachel is knocked up and she’s launching a clothing line, so there’s a whole lot more going on than just the Oscars.
We started with Rachel and Rodger back when she was six months pregnant and requiring Rodger to make her breakfast, which was Pellegrino and cranberry, as far as I could tell. For this season, Rodger has added some unfortunate facial hair to his Just Beiber haircut, and one can only hope that Rachel will be in charge of picking future hairstyles for their son. Speaking of her son, Rachel admitted right up front that she had initially been disappointed that she was having a boy, and let’s face it, we all figured that was the case. But as soon as she found cute boy clothes, everything was fixed. Despite what the show may sometimes make it seem like, Rachel is actually really easy to please. Just wave a cute outfit in front of her face!
We then followed the couple and their bean to one of the company’s four offices, which was apparently one that they don’t visit often because they couldn’t figure out how to get in the door. Once they had been buzzed in like the UPS guy, Rachel met with the head of her new line (Did we catch her name? Mandanna or Mandonna or something?) and did a little shilling, which is to be expected in a series that covers the launch of a new fashion line for all of 4.5 seconds, setting the pace for the rest of the episode and making me wonder exactly how many episodes this season will have if we’re running through plot points this quickly.
Pretty soon, Rachel went back to the styling office that we all know and love (and at which she had no problem gaining entry), where Jordan had been promoted in Brad’s absence. That gave Rachel a bit of an opportunity to talk shit about Brad, who she accused of poaching clients and pursuing the limelight after he left the business. And although I generally like Rachel, calling him out for that without giving him an opportunity to respond on the show seemed a little petty.
Besides, of course Brad took a couple of accounts with him when he left; anyone who works in an account-based business knows that happens when someone talented parts ways with a company. Plus, who cares if Brad’s going to events? I’m pretty sure there’s enough room for both of them at fashion shows and parties. The whole thing smacked of jealousy over Brad’s rising profile within the industry. In fact, didn’t they split shortly after he was profiled glowingly in the New York Times?
For me, the way she handled Brad’s departure on the show also makes me wonder about the things she said about Taylor last season. She accused her of stealing and various other nefariousness, but no specific allegations ever came about and Taylor just really didn’t seem like the type. And didn’t Rachel nearly have a heart attack because Taylor dared to style someone for an awards show after she left the company? Does she expect all of her former employees to bag groceries for a living after they leave?
The subject quickly changed to Rachel and Rodger shooting an editorial for Elle themed around John and Yoko’s famous bed-in, and I guess Rodger would be Yoko in this scenario? While Rachel was in hair and makeup, she complained that the bean eliminated half her wardrobe but gave her an added advantage when she fought with Rodger, so I guess that’s basically a wash. Next thing we knew, the wardrobe assistant’s were struggling to zip things over Rachel’s bump and they were being photographed in all white rolling around on a bed. Thankfully, they were both fully clothed. It is Elle, after all.
And then, all of a sudden, we were back at Rachel and Rodger’s house, trying to hire a new assistant. Naturally, Jeremiah, the first adorable gay guy who came in, more or less got the job right then and there. Rachel spent more time talking at him than asking him questions, and for his part, Rodger made a few off-color jokes about being “under” Rachel and they all discussed what exactly a game of dodgeball entails.
In keeping with the quick pace of the rest of the episode, we were then whisked off to tour a potential new home with Rodger and Marissa, the company’s director of operations, because Rachel was…elsewhere. I don’t know where she was. The house was palatial and cost $20,000 a month to rent, and it had a sauna. And then we sprinted directly to the next scene! Why are we rushing?!
We reconvened at Rachel’s office, where she and Rodger were meeting with a different brunette, the one whose name I never managed to catch, who was wearing the Rick Owens jacket that I own in my head. No one had actually seen any final samples yet, so they all seemed a little worried about planning the New York preview for buyers and editors that was quickly approaching. Except, wait! There’s a premiere! It’s on the same day, and it’s in LA, and now Rachel wants to rearrange the entire event to accomodate one bimbo movie star who needs a dress. Why does she pay Jordan if Jordan can’t handle dressing after the dress is chosen?
But we didn’t get an answer to that question, because first we had to interview another stylist, as if Jeremiah’s spot wasn’t already set in stone. A girl named Ashley came in who admittedly had much more experience and who seemed much more enthusiastic, plus she pronounced Proenza Schouler correctly, which is so rare that I can’t even get started on how much it bothers me when people within the industry say it incorrectly. This Ashley girl, she seemed like the perfect candidate. She seemed like a Rachel-in-training!
Ultimately, though, Rachel wanted to bring Jeremiah back in and talk to him again. Rachel would rather have a cute gay guy with fun hair around the office than yet another totally qualified female assistant, and that was just the way it was going to be. Rodger protested that Ashley was better, but let’s face it, Rodger’s not the one running the show in any real way. Rachel’s the cash cow, and what she says go, even if it makes Rodger so frustrated that his Beiber bangs get frizzy.
Naturally, when Jeremiah came back in, he admitted that most of his work was as a model and not an actual stylist or photo assistant or fashion assistant or anything that might add any kind of value to a styling business, which seemed to delight Rachel and make her even more determined to hire him. She justified it by saying that Brad hadn’t had much experience before she hired him either, but don’t I remember something about how he worked for Vogue? Did I make that up? Anyway, Jeremiah got hired. Duh. We all knew that 45 minutes ago.
Later, Marissa made the mistake of showing Rachel the pictures of the giant house that they had toured previously, which Rodger had asked her not to do since he thought it would be too big and too expensive to furnish and too much of a whirlwind to accomplish before the baby arrived. If ever you needed proof that Rodger knows his wife, that was it, because she took a single glance at the pictures of the house and demanded that they rent it. With a bit of protestation (but not too much), Rodger gave in. There’s no use arguing with a determined pregnant lady. She’ll always win, particularly when she was already a little nuts before she was pregnant.
That was that, so it was on to the next thing – Rachel’s collection, which had just magically shown up in the studio and needed to be styled and shipping back to New York as outfits by the end of the day. As luck would have it, that was also Jeremiah’s first day, and he was completely overwhelmed. That would be understandable, save for the fact that all he was asked to do was steam the garments. Not only is that not rocket science, but anyone who has ever done any kind of legitimate work in fashion, ever, has used a standard hand steamer. The fashion industry runs on hand steamers, unpaid interns and Diet Coke.
He figured it out eventually, though, and it got him an invitation to come to New York to help out with the presentation. Speaking of the presentation, if you haven’t seen the collection by now, the clothes are actually really nice. They’re a little spendy, but there’s a reason that they’ve been picked up by several major high-end department stores and some great online retailers. There’s a $550 maxi dress in the line that I would stab someone in order to obtain, but considering the price tag, I’ll probably abstain. Still, Rachel’s duds seem to be the real deal, which is more than I can say for basically any other person who I can think of who has a reality TV show.
That more or less covers it for this episode, but with plenty of high-pressure situations to come, there are surely plenty of meltdowns and Chanel jackets left to be seen in this season. And at the pace the producers have set, we might see them all in the span of an hour next week.