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Summer Fridays: On Vacation with Rachel Zoe

We were pretty surprised to learn that Rachel Zoe finds time to take a break from her crazy life as one of Hollywood's most in-demand stylists; but of course, she still jet-sets in style. From her packing essentials to whether it's ever acceptable to look like a tourist, here are Rachel Zoe's rules to traveling.
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It’s summer! And that means on Fridays, everyone should be sneaking out of work a little bit early to go on a weekend jaunt or grab a drink on a sunny rooftop. The fashion industry, which works very hard, also knows a thing or two about how to cut loose. In our weekly Summer Friday column, we catch up with industry insiders to find out what they do, where they go, and what they bring with them when they escape the daily grind. We start our series this season with Rachel Zoe, stylist, editor, and designer extraordinaire!

One of the most successful stylists in the industry, Rachel Zoe has turned her keen eye for all-things-fashion into a mega-empire. And with five seasons of Bravo's The Rachel Zoe Project under her belt (bag--read on!), plus her own lines of womenswear and accessories, Zoe's career has swelled to the extent where she's no longer eligible for a spot on The Hollywood Reporter's "Top 25 Power Stylists" list. She's just that major.

With all of this in mind, we were pretty surprised to learn that Zoe finds time to take a break; of course, she still jet-sets in style. From her packing essentials to whether it's ever acceptable to look like a tourist, here are Rachel Zoe's rules to traveling.

How do you pack for vacation? I like to pack in stages, which usually means several days to perfect and complete. I start by pulling everything out of my closet that I want to take with me. Then, I revisit my pull and do an edit. After my edit, I pull out my accessories, shoes and jewelry. Before anything goes into my suitcase, I do a check to make sure I’ve included my “greatest hits”--that’s a list of my favorite shoes, bags, jewelry, jackets, and knits for different destinations and occasions. There are certain pieces that I can’t go anywhere without. Something that people also find interesting is that I pack on hangers and in plastic--straight from my closet to the suitcase!

What are your five to seven packing essentials? NARS Multiple, a wide brim fedora, larger-than-life sunnies, a cashmere plane scarf, wedge sandals, an oversize leather tote, a messenger bag, skyn ICELAND eye gels, roll-on perfume, wide leg denim, and a yummy knit sweater.

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Is it okay to look like a tourist on vacation? Personally, I say avoid it. Keep your look modern and polished. Pack accessories that you would wear in your everyday life--like a belt bag, camera bag, or leather backpack--contemporary yet practical.

Who is your travel buddy? [My husband] Rodger and I travel everywhere together. He is my rock.

What is the most daring thing you've done while abroad? I walked up to Catherine Deneuve at a Chanel fashion show in Paris and told her she was my idol and one of the most glamorous people to ever live.

What is the worst thing that's ever happened to you while on vacation? The worst thing that has ever happened to me while on vacation was losing my luggage on the way to St. Barts--so many mementos were lost.

What is the one moment from a vacation that you will never ever forget? I will never forget the first time [my son] Skyler went swimming in the ocean. I remember his smile, his laugh and his little striped swim trunks like it was yesterday. I was so proud of him!

What has been your favorite purchase from your travels? During my last trip to St. Barts, I got the most beautiful Hermès Egee clutch. It’s my new obsession!

What is your new song of the summer? Alabama Shakes’ “Hold On.”