Rachel Zoe has built her empire around a signature aesthetic: free-spirited, Bohemian-inspired gowns, and '70s-style flares. It's what we've come to expect from her, and the designer knows this all too well. "The '60s and the '70s—it's my thing, and it's never going to change. Hopefully, people will always come to me for a great flared pant or a great jacket," she tells us prior to her fall/winter 2016 presentation during New York Fashion Week. "But I also want to show what else I can do."
And show us, she did. Instead of drawing inspiration from the bohemian repertoire, she time-traveled all the way back to the '30s and then forward into the '90s. "This is actually really different from any of my other collections. We have menswear tailoring with feminine silk slip dresses, pearl beaded sweaters, velvet pajamas, and super rich fabrics," she says. "This girl feels very expensive and glamorous without trying."
Some highlights: Oversize shaggy coats shrugged over the most delicate lace slips, pretty Victorian-inspired blouses toughened up with sleek suit separates, and shredded metallic fringe skirts (the same fringe that she turned into a top for herself, pictured at top) grounded with chunky knits and blazers. It's really a refreshing change of pace. What prompted it?
"I think there's been a lot of changes in my life, professionally," she says. "We just launched e-commerce, so that's been incredibly exciting and we're doing a pop-up at The Grove. It's really about putting an even stronger message out there and keeping it new and fresh."
Not that her new looks for the season has changed any of her fun-loving '70s spirit. Zoe says the party element running through her collection—namely, cocktail and evening pieces, like a relaxed beaded jumpsuit and sexy sheer black dresses—is made for action. "I like to make clothes that people want to live in and dance in all night," she says. "I want to have fun with fashion."