In Fashion Feelings, we’ll be talking to notable people about how fashion changed their lives. Here, stylist Rachel Zoe talks about how her musical icons shaped her personal style.
I started styling when I was 8 years old. I styled my friends. If I didn’t love the way people were dressing but I knew they had great clothes, I would go over to their house and lay out their clothes for them. I always liked to make people look and feel better. I wanted to build people’s confidence, without knowing that that’s what I was doing because I was very young.
Once I became a teenager, I really started to do that with all my friends. I would do everyone’s makeup and hair and pick out everyone’s clothes if we were going out, set everyone’s looks for them. At that time, I had no idea what a stylist was or that I could ever make a career out of doing that, ever. It was just about style for me, it wasn’t about Dolce & Gabbana or Gucci. It was about, That woman is magnificent, what is she wearing and how can I look like that? Or how to look like my idols, the Go-Go’s or Madonna. Madonna was my fashion idol around eighth grade. I was fully dressing like her at all times. That was the “Lucky Star” era — rubber bracelets up to my elbows and fishnets, the whole thing.
In high school we were definitely still into Madonna, but also a little bit of Duran Duran and Sting, that whole thing. I was listening to U2 and a lot of classic rock, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Rolling Stones. But I didn’t feel the confidence to go the ‘60s route until I got into college.
I definitely did not dress like everyone else, that wasn’t my thing. I was always going the other way. But I wasn’t the black sheep, I wasn’t dyeing my hair hot-pink and piercing everything. I was a little bit more glamorous — and not always in the best way. But what’s the worst-case scenario, I’m the most overdressed at the party? That’s just how I was raised. My mom was always the most dressed-up anywhere.
In my 20s, I think I started to get way more refined, toned everything down. I started to wear a ton of black, and my hair was straight. Much less makeup, maybe a red lip and mascara. Stevie Nicks was a huge influence for me. Then we got the Tom Ford era, which changed my whole world. I don’t think that has ever changed. Wearing flares and button-ups with a blazer, and some sort of velvet suit with a big gold piece on my neck. I don’t think I’ve really veered that much from that.