The Luxury Travel Bible - CELEBRITY TRAVEL: Rachel Zoe


Stylist to the stars and a celebrity in her own right fashionista Rachel Zoe has travelled the world As a designer, editor, best-selling author TV personality and entrepreneur renowned for her effortless take on glamour she also has a particular take on luxury travel. Rachel is one of twelve tastemakers who have partnered with Beverly HIlls to launch its Definition of Luxury campaign, including  published book  re-enforcing the city as  the leading luxury destination. Here she explains just why she thinks Beverly Hills , California’s capital of glamour,  is so special.

What is your definition of luxury?
Luxury is that immediate feeling of empowerment, enabling you to become the best version of yourself. Whether you’re putting on a luxurious coat, walking into a store that provides a great experience or stepping into a luxury hotel or restaurant—it evokes an emotion that you don’t want to dissipate and can’t wait to experience again. 

What are the top luxury destinations in the world for you?

There are so many! I love the south of France (St. Tropez), Amalfi Coast (Capri), St. Barth’s, Gstaad, Aspen, Mystique, and of course Paris. these elite destinations have incredible shopping locales and high-end luxury experiences - whether that’s a world-class restaurant, accommodation or service. Much like Beverly Hills, these one-of-a-kind destinations share the luxurious polish and sophistication. 

Can you share your three favorite go-to places in Beverly Hills when you are alone, with a client, or with your family? 

When I’m alone, my favorite thing to do is walk around Rodeo Drive. I’ll always stop into Hermes, Saint Laurent, Chanel, Tom Ford or Burberry - I could spend hours in those boutiques! With a client, I love the cozy setting of Craig’s or The Palm. I have so many favorite places to go with my family- my favorite are Il Pastaio, Barney’s, and the Farmer’s Market on Civic Center Drive - I’m there every Sunday with my boys. We also love to grab brunch at Montage Beverly Hills, Peninsula Beverly Hills, and The Beverly Hills Hotel. 

What has been your favorite memory in Beverly Hills?

From a fashion perspective, I have witnessed several of my friends whom are also incredibly esteemed and talented designers receive the Rodeo Drive Walk Of Style Award—Christopher Bailey, Tom Ford, Donatella Versace, Iman and Missoni. They close down the entire street for the event! It was always such a special and glamorous night. My other favorite memories involve taking walks I took with my son Skyler. You really get to take in the beauty of your surroundings and appreciated how special the city really is. One of my favorite Saturdays was when we had brunch at the Montage Beverly Hills rooftop, walked to the Farmer’s Market and then headed to the Beverly Hills Art Show. I love that we had a 360 Beverly Hills experience, all just a few steps away from our home - can it get any better? 


Rachel & Kaius at the St.Jude's-Brooks Brothers Holiday Event on Rodeo, 2015


You travel all over the world for your business.  What does a hotel need to do to wow you? 
Cleanliness and attention to detail is a huge plus for me when choosing a hotel - and a nice bathroom is everything! My ideal hotel room would have natural light, a balcony or terrace to get fresh air and 24-hour room service with a diverse menu. I also love a great outdoor space with a pool and activities available for kids. It’s also important for a hotel’s employees to be kind and polite - exercising service with a smile is never overlooked. 

You began your fashion career in New York City at YM Magazine. What influenced you to move to California?
I always knew I would move to California, it was just a matter of time. I have always had this infectious love of L.A., which began when I spent a summer at UCLA when I was 16 years old - I completely fell in love with the city. I remember being totally enveloped by the beautiful landscape, yet it had this cosmopolitan feel to it. Los Angeles, and specifically Beverly Hills, is one of those few places in the world that has figured out the incredible balance of suburban and city life. That’s why I knew I had to be in LA—and coincidentally where my job took me as my celebrity client roster began to grow. Beverly Hills is truly a magical place. It’s probably the New Yorker in me, but I love that I can walk everywhere, too. Walking to the Beverly Hills Hotel and Will Rogers Memorial Park is how my family and I spend many weekend afternoons. My kids are obsessed with Rogers Memorial Park - they affectionately call it the ‘fishy park’! 

What about Beverly Hills helps to inspire your creative process during a road block?

The landscape continually inspired my creative process and invigorates and refreshes my mind. I love that I can look out my window at the rolling hills and breathtaking landscape of the mountains. One of my favorite and iconic images of Beverly Hills is the magnificent tree-lined streets in the flats – its truly picture perfect. Some of the streets are even named after these trees! I know it sounds cheesy, but I’m seriously woken up by the sunshine and birds chirping almost everyday. Its surreal, and I don’t take it for granted coming from the East Coast. 

Aside from being known for your work styling celebrities, you are also known for your own personal signature style - glamorous and bohemian. What do you think the style of Beverly Hills is?

Beverly Hills style is extremely polished and sophisticated and carries a strong European influence. You will find both the traditional and fashion obsessed there. Being that Beverly Hills is an international destination, it is also incredibly worldly and inspiring. Beverly Hills people love to dress up and always have somewhere to go. 


Rachel, Skyler and Kaius in front of art wall, Beverly Hills


You were one of the first to really create fashion moments down the red carpet. What inspires you when pulling looks for your clients?
Each of my clients has been different—the process is usually tailored to the individual. I am drawn to learning more about the person I am dressing -really understanding what they are trying to portray with their look. I will always ask if there is an old Hollywood moment that they want to evoke - I often find inspiration from Hollywood glamour icons like Audrey Hepburn, Lauren Bacall and Grace Kelly. Beverly Hills really contributes to that Hollywood glamour moment – you feel it especially at The Beverly Hills Hotel. If those walls could talk…

The Future of Luxury global trend report states that the future promises a return to old school precepts with experience, craftsmanship and sourcing being key.  How does Beverly Hills embody these principles?

Beverly Hills definitely embodies those classic and timeless principles—you really feel it in the beautiful historical architecture and the opulence of the world-class shopping destinations and fine dining. I think Beverly Hills will always embody that luxurious, old Hollywood sensibility and will forever remain an iconic luxury and travel destination. Beverly Hills truly supports the retail environment by providing an unparalleled, custom experience—it’s a place where people can really immerse themselves in luxury, whether for shopping or enjoying world-renowned restaurants. That kind of physical presence of luxury is something you can’t capture through digital alone. Brands are dying to be on the map in Beverly Hills.

Like any leading city, the culture and energy shifts over time.  With so many new developments in technology and new conveniences, how has Beverly Hills adapted and changed to maintain its position as a leading source for luxury?
Admittedly I am now a big online shopper because of my on-the-go lifestyle as a mother. Having two children and a business, I found that my free time to shop is very limited. That being said, I truly think there is such value for brands to have a physical space just as much as a digital one. When I do have those moments to venture out and shop for myself or a client, Beverly Hills is at the top of my list because it provides that kind of luxury experience that is essential for customer engagement—the stores in Beverly Hills really create that moment for shoppers. The boutiques have high ceilings luxurious fixtures and unparalleled design elements—some stores even have outdoor space where customers can take a break over tea and coffee. The Burberry store on Rodeo is unbelievable! A lot of digital-only brands are even moving towards providing that luxury customer experiences through brick and mortar retail and pop-up shops—it really is essential to support a brands digital presence – not to mention, having a physical place where customers can take in your brand really substantiates your brand credibility.  


DVF and Barry Diller's Annual Pre-Oscar lunch in Beverly Hills


This past New York Fashion Week had many notable “disruptions” to its time-tested structure.  How do predict luxury as we know it being disrupted in the next 5-10 years? 
I think we will know in the next few seasons how these disruptions will translate. It’s going to be very interesting to see just how much this change will impact the fashion and luxury sector and what the customer response will be when collections are immediately available to shop. There are definitely some risks and rewards to this new process.

From all of the aspects of your business – your styling, contemporary line of ready-to-wear, jewelry, footwear, your books, The Zoe Report, partnerships and television show – how has the evolution of the digital world impacted what we consider to be luxury in terms of the fashion industry?
The rise of technology has completely changed the landscape of the industry. While the immediacy of digital has taken some of the mystique and intrigue out of fashion, consumers are able to have immediate access, which makes it more inclusive. Social media has significantly contributed to this shift as well. The whole world is now able to see collections of designers right when they hit the runway. Some designers are even responding to this by changing their creative timeline to a ‘see-now buy-now’ model that will enable customers to buy straight from the runway.

In some ways, it really is great because the biggest designers can share their collection with the world and provide the sense of immediacy that their audience is looking for. 

Beverly Hills’ recent Future of Luxury global trend reports states that global luxury menswear sales are forecasted to reach $18 billion, with many designers unveiling collections for men.  What is the men’s fashion that is found in Beverly Hills? And what do you think spurred the shift in which men are taking notes on luxury fashion?

Men have always been fashion and luxury obsessed! They have just been quieter about it. The designers I love in the menswear space are Tom Ford and Hedi Slimane and iconic brands like Gucci, Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana. There are so many incredible bespoke menswear boutiques in Beverly Hills as well - men have a lot of options in this city!

Posted 23/5/16


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