Pat Clark

Pat Clark: Someone's taking herself awfully seriously

Rachel Zoe — stylist to the stars — isn't happy when people trivialize what she does.

She must not be happy much.

Because dressing pretty, pretty people in pretty, pretty clothes isn't exactly akin to brokering world peace, now is it?

And yet, someone at the Bravo network felt that it was important enough to put on television every week; to follow Rachel Zoe about as she spends shocking amounts of money on all those pretty, pretty things, flitting from fashion houses to boutiques and showing her terribly worried face when things go awry (Oh, holy world collapse! We don't have enough dresses for Debra Messing to try on before the SAG Awards!) and huffing and puffing under the horrendous strain of it all.


Really, I love fashion and I still think what she does is trivial.

But, to be fair, a lot of things that are trivial still are fun to follow. Like professional sports, fashion can be important or unimportant, depending on what angle you're looking from. Both are fun, but not life-essential. Neither is life-essential, but both still pump billions of dollars into the national economy.

I also love TV — in all its own trivial glory. When TV and fashion come together on a show like "Project Runway," "What Not to Wear" or "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style," it's like a little ride through mindless nirvana.

When the two come together on "The Rachel Zoe Project," though, it's like getting slammed back down to earth and landing on the metal breast cones of a Jean Paul Gaultier ensemble.

It's painful.

Rachel Zoe is paid a lot of cash to toil away, picking clothing and accessories for chic stars to wear on red carpets and to other glittery appearances hither and yon.

But is it really all that hard to make beautiful women look good? They come pretty much equipped with all the necessary base parts, after all. Just how labor intensive can this be?

Sure, celebrities get brutalized for fashion blunders. Again, to be fair, I get great joy out of watching what celebrities wear. I get great joy when they look good and I get great joy eviscerating their choices when they look bad.

Not proud, just honest.

I am among the many couch critics in the world who make celebrities feel they desperately need people like Zoe to keep them from metaphorically falling fashion-face-first.

But all that doesn't change the fact that it's hardly heavy-lifting — no matter how much Zoe wants us to think it's grueling work.

Besides, why can't celebrities decide for themselves what clothes they like and what makes them feel good? Why do they have to pay someone else to create their styles? Shouldn't their styles be, organically, their own?

As long as a celebrity has an assistant — and if they can afford Zoe, you know they have at least one, if not several — a mirror and an honest answer should be enough to handle any crucial dressing situation:

Star to assistant: "How does this dress look?"

Assistant to star: "The ruffle down the back makes you look like a stegosaurus."

Star to assistant: "Let's try something else."

See? Pretty easy stuff. No need to pay enough to feed several hundred starving children to a self-aggrandizing stylist who pulls out well-crafted affectations from her bag in what clearly is a mad attempt to manufacture an imitation persona — all in the name of furthering her "brand."

Brand me nauseated.

But celebrities feel they need people like Rachel Zoe, so, then, let them have them. It all makes the economy go round, I suppose.

But let's stop short of pretending what they do is so very critical.

Maybe it's just bad timing for a show like Zoe's. It doesn't feel right these days to glorify wanton consumption and style over substance; to flaunt a message that it's OK to spend thousands on a vintage dress if it has the right name on it, while people across town are losing their homes and jobs.

Really, Rachel, if you don't like what you do to be trivialized, national television probably isn't the best place for you right now.

Reach Scene editor Pat Clark at