NYFW: RACHEL ZOE S/S 2014

I want to know how she does it.

The weather in New York City is, as it is across most the US, quite warm for mid-September. Many of the exhibition spaces, such as the Studio at Lincoln Center, do not contain enough air conditioning tonnage to cool down the hundreds of sardine-packed attendees at each runway show. By midday, any random piece of paper becomes a makeshift fan, women are complaining about their feet burning, and even the most proper of matrons are dabbing at their necks with moist towelettes. With 90-something percent humidity, the environment in the Studio feels like 115.

And what does Rachel Zoe do? She sends her models down the runway wearing silk. You got it, silk, that beautifully soft and shiny fabric that is determined to show every drop of perspiration that even thinks about popping onto one’s skin. Beautiful green silk coming down the runway and not a single stain on any of it.

But that kind of cool, easy going perfection is what Rachel Zoe has taught us to expect from her, isn’t it? While any other pregnant woman would be looking for an excuse to put her feet up, Rachel has been ubiquitous all week at a variety of fashion events, and was hands on back stage making sure each look was perfect as it came down the catwalk.

The look was sporty with a touch of glamour, safari with a hint of Californication tossed in. There were multiple takes on the safari jacket, a couple of highly modified animal prints (the faux zebra was a bit rough on the eyes, though), plenty of crop tops, rounded and padded shoulders, some white sheer, and plenty of other touches that have become standard for this season.

The surprises? Sequined separates, for starters. Again, there’s no way that ensemble was light and breezy. and the skin tight leggins seem counter-intuitive against so many more flowing and open fabrics. The torn denim is touch she probably could have left back in the 90s and been just fine.

What really worked, though, were the maxi dresses, one of which the designer herself was wearing to hide her baby bump. The prints are wonderful, the silhouette is flattering, and the knit cotton is much more friendly in oppressively hot environments … like the Studio at Lincoln Center.

Of course, the Midwest will love the collection. Middle America is what made Rachel Zoe a household name in the first place. The styles all look great, but when the temps get over 80 degrees, one really should ask: “Is this practical?”

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