Sunday, March 6, 2011

Book Review: Style A to Zoe -- The Art of Fashion, Beauty, and Everything Glamour

     Behind every award show's red carpet wow moment, photo shoot for a magazine spread, and movie premiere is stylist. Rachel Zoe is a celebrity stylist who currently styles famous names like Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore, Eva Mendes, and Jennifer Garner. And prior to her reality show The Rachel Zoe Project, she has been stylisting celebrities for years before it debuted on Bravo. What's more is that her style guide, Style A to Zoe: The Art of Fashion, Beauty, and Everything Glamour hit bookshelves and became a New York Time Bestseller way before she became a household name and her choice phrases like Ba-Nanas and I Die were mainstream. And my reaction to this style guide can definitely be described by both of those. 

"Even all grown up and a part of the global fashion machine, I still love opening a pristine magazine or book and getting lost in the stories and photographs of all the amazing parties and people featured. I study the images. I dream. I tear out pages for later reference. I admit it's a bit aspirational and inspirational. But it's a personal indulgence that has obviously had its professional merits, too, in my decade and a half as a stylist."

     The first thing that you're going to notice about this book, especially upon reading the first paragraph is that the voice is very true to the words and advice of a stylist who does this for a living (and for obvious reasons.)  My opinion might be a bit biased because I'm an ardent fan of her show, but when I was reading this book, it's almost as if it's being read to me by Rachel Zoe in her very unique and distinct intonation. For instance, the introduction of the book is about the importance of dreaming. This is very true to the Zoe fashion, because she's always talking about how she's always dreaming and obsessing over a particular dress she has in mind for a particular client or a look that just stepped on the runway. She talks about how essential it is to dream, especially when you're awake. In fact, she highly encourages it. 

     I'm not too crazy about how the illustrations and images are placed throughout the book, but it is pretty remarkable how she is on first name basis with so many top designers and celebrities. This book is filled with commentaries written by Valentino, Alberta Ferretti, Zac Posen, and Diane Von Furstenberg. In addition, it's filled with pages and pages of her personal photographs with designers like Giorgio Armani, Brian Atwood, John Galliano, Marc Jacobs, Erin Fetherston, Roberto Cavalli, and Donatella Versace -- basically all of the labels that she dresses her clients in! Talk about social networking. But it all makes sense, because if you are prominent designer who wants to get the name of your fashion house out there, the best way to achieve that is to get to the stylists of all these famous celebrities. Fashion house + Celebrity = Publicity. 

     But the creme de la creme of this style guide lies in just that, the useful tips and advice she offers her readers. I can totally relate to her love for accessories with an entire chapter dedicated to what she calls "Excessories." To her, accessories are more important than the clothes. I'm not sure if I completely agree with that statement, but I do admit that accessories are a very essential factor to a woman's wardrobe. Along those same lines, I'm in complete agreement to her love for the classics. In the book, she said that "you're better off with a quality classic than a logo splattered imitation." And she's absolutely right!  Why go for the next best thing when you can have the real deal! Why buy an imitation Chanel jacket when you can go and buy a real deal, Chanel boucle' jacket, *especially when your budget permits it. My love for the classics is the just my old-fashioned self in me. 

     Her useful fashion advice includes the five glamour essentials under $50, how to shop for sunglasses, how a shoe can completely change the look of an outfit, and five habits worth getting into, like grooming your eyebrows and keeping your nails manicured, and how critical the fit of the clothing is. But the most important lesson that I've derived from this book is her idea of never feeling ashamed or embarrassed for being too glammed up. I'm not talking about wearing a ball gown to a football game type of scenario where you outfit doesn't match the occasion. I'm talking about the idea of actually putting the effort to get dressed and looking your best when you step out of your front door in the morning instead of wearing sweat pants and flip flops. I've been in so many situations where I felt completely overdressed because everyone else around me were underdressed and looked like they've just rolled out of bed. Rachel Zoe said you shouldn't be ashamed for doing so, because "if you show up looking a bit more glam than the rest, what's the worst-case scenario? You look the best in the room?" And I love that! I've always felt like I shouldn't have to dumb-down my outfit standards, because someone else doesn't care about what they put on their back everyday. More power to me. So if you really want to know what happens in the wonderful world of Zoe fashion and pick at Rachel Zoe's mind, check out this book. It's a very good read! 

Love, KB


  1. Cool review!!!I really like your blog.
    Check mine as well if u like.