Rachel has bangs, Skyler is walking and season 5 began at N.Y. Fashion Week 2012


What’s new?

Rachel is now a corporate titan with a multitude of divisions under her Rachel Zoe, Inc. umbrella and son Skyler is a toddler of 18 months. Not only is she showing her women’s collection at a full blown runway show, but she is still styling, maintaining a big web presence through Zoe Media Group and is ready to launch her beauty salon business named  DreamDry.

Each of her enterprises has its own dedicated staff and the old office in West L.A. is no more. According to Rodger, who has gone to the messy long hair look, he has more than 30 employees to pay. Rachel’s own hair change came in the form of bangs, which she obsessed over until she had enough people say they were fabulous.

Gone is the usual kvetching lead assistant stylist character. We did catch a peek of former assistant a/k/a the traitor known as Brad Goreski, as the two passed like ships in the night at Fashion Week without so much as a word or a glance.

Who’s in charge?

Mandana is now Rachel Zoe’s stand-in for all purposes and the one trying to guess what her boss is thinking at all times.

It isn’t an episode of The Project without someone obsessing by saying, “Will Rachel be happy with what I chose?” In styling the room space for the runway show, Rachel demanded, on the usual short deadline, a wall of white flowers to distinguish her show from others. The vendor was driven mad but Mandana got what she needed, along with more stress than one human should carry.

We met Eileen, Rachel’s new styling associate who is the antithesis of Brad and the original drama queen, Taylor. The women’s collection is managed by Lauren who had the unenviable task of giving the boss bad news after New York.

What did we learn in episodes 1 and 2?

Skyler is a constant presence and the sun rises and sets on him for Rachel. The feeling isn’t shared by Zoe’s staff when the toddler who is learning to talk interrupts for the umpteenth time.

The premiere focused on the women’s collection and the response from critics as well as buyers. Her reviews were great but retailers were less than enthusiastic. Rachel had to be told that her love of ‘70s fashion, particularly maxi-skirts will not fly at boutiques. It was with that in mind that she spit out the  “This is fashion BS” remark after a hissy fit over why maxis are Maj.

We got a look in episode two of how her styling business has grown into more magazine spreads for designer collections. Zoe was back in her element (she started out styling musicians) and in action with the singing duo Karmin, who represent the Coach brand. Not only did they do a print spread but a music video for Coach. When Karmin spit out an impromptu freestyle rap about Rachel, it was “to die” in the opinion of Zoe.

Episode 3 preview

Episode three airs Wednesday night at 9:00 p.m. ET Next problem up is Paris Fashion Week. Remember all the luggage when she traveled without a child?  You’ll love the conga line of bags that send Rodger into fits. The pressure to launch DreamDry ramps up and Rodger is frantic. Same old Rachel Zoe and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Written by Paula Duffy. Talk back to her about The Rachel Zoe Project on Twitter (@jurisdiva).