December 17, 2012 New York
Rachel Zoe's collection has taken a drubbing in the blogosphere lately. The question at hand: Can the contemporary label sustain itself when Zoe's reality show isn't on the air? Perhaps to address the issue, perhaps not, Zoe is starting to think outside the SoCal Boho box that she's long been associated with. "Tough luxe" was the term being bandied about in her showroom, and there was a new emphasis on leather for pre-fall. Burberry seemed to have provided the template for a double-breasted trenchcoat in olive drab with black leather sleeves; other pieces had the shrunken, worn-in look that has defined urban cool forever. Elsewhere, it was back to the vaguely Saint Laurent-ish tailoring and sequins Zoe has done for a couple of years now. A black smoking with contrasting white lapels and tuxedo pant stripes will have hanger appeal, as will a little sleeveless dress beaded in an animal pattern. Much of the rest of the lineup erred on the anonymous side. The answer for this stylist-turned-designer may be to pack her clothes with more of the personality—the "Zoeisms"—that have made her TV show a hit.
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