Shopping with Rachel Zoe, the pixie-size celebrity stylist who says she hates the term “celebrity stylist” and instead wants to be referred to as “just a stylist,” is a dizzying, even exhausting, experience. Five minutes into a visit at What Comes Around Goes Around, a vintage-clothing shop in New York's SoHo, she has swooned, kvelled and plotzed over any number of items. On this brisk November afternoon, she's searching for goddess dresses for the spring 2007 Jimmy Choo and Judith Leiber advertising campaigns she'll be styling; outfits for public appearances by her clients Lindsay Lohan, Mischa Barton and Nicole Richie (the last of whom will hire a rival stylist a little more than two weeks later); and, of course, pieces to fit her own rail-thin frame. Each swoon, kvell and plotz is accompanied by a different, wildly effervescent superlative.
“This is so amazing,” she says, fondling a tiny gold purse. “Like, I'm kind of obsessed. And the silver one is just insane.” (She takes both.) A pair of boots are “like, the dopest things ever.” A sweater vest with a fur collar “is amazingly delicious. So yummy.” A Missoni caftan “is so kooky crazy. I could wear it in St. Barths.”
Then, one of the store's owners, Seth Weisser, has Zoe try on a Matrix-inspired, formfitting leather jacket of his own design. And that's when Zoe has a fashion orgasm. “Seth, this is on another level!” she squeals. “This jacket's so hot. This is not even on another level; it's on another planet. I need to rock this. I'll wear this left, right and center.” (Weisser gives it to her as a gift, knowing that her tastemaking friends and clients will inevitably see it on her and want one too.) And then, after a 10-second cooldown, she's off again, combing the racks: “I'm looking for Alaïas. Any Alaïas, Alaïas, Alaïas, Alaïas?”
Though this scene might sound like a shopaholic's fantasy, for Zoe—who dropped her last name, Rosenzweig, professionally on an agent's recommendation—it was serious business. She's not a shopaholic but a workaholic, she insists, when she finally sits down, after several hours of hard labor, to rest her Brian Atwoods. (The shoe designer is a longtime friend; according to Atwood, they met “dancing on tables in Paris eight years ago” after Zoe left YM magazine to work as a freelance stylist.) “I can't plan anything,” she says, sliding into a banquette in the lobby of the 60 Thompson hotel. “I don't get to see my friends. Ever. I can't keep a doctor's appointment. I can't make a dinner plan. I've canceled every vacation that I've wanted to take in the last three or four years.”