We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend and what's "you"? These are some of the questions we're putting to prominent figures in our column "How I Shop."
"I don't have to buy it, 'cause I already own it."
Lisa Rinna's tagline for season eight of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" was basically made for the long-running reality series — and this story. The actress-turned-reality star is known for her oft-repeated truth bombs and bon mots — like her previous taglines, "You've heard a lot about me, but it's only true when it comes from my lips," and, "My hair is iconic, and don't you fucking forget!" — which are just as refreshing as her elevated SoCal style. This season, her gold joggers for brunch (and tea-spilling) with her "RHOBH" fam and the Pam & Gela red camo tracksuit she wore on a private flight to the Bahamas felt like such an effortless, laid-back flex — especially compared to all the logomania filling up the rest of my TV screen.
Rinna also has her own fashion-industry hustle, which includes bringing her West Coast style to fans via the Lisa Rinna Collection for QVC. "I make what I love and I make what I want to wear," she says, over the phone, possibly workshopping another tagline.
While on a visit to New York, the Beverly Hills Housewife squeezed in a call with Fashionista to also discuss why she started working with stylist Marie-Lou Bartoli, how fellow Housewives Erika Jayne and Dorit Kemsley have pushed her out of her comfort zone — which we'll see this season — and what happens when someone breaks the stringent wardrobe-borrowing rules between herself and model-influencer daughters Delilah Belle and Amelia Gray Hamlin. Spoiler: "probation."
"I've always described my style as 'comfy, cozy California chic.' It's just classic, simple, chic. Jackie Onassis and Audrey Hepburn are big style icons for me. I get my fashion ideas from every walk of life. It's always changing.
It's been fun doing my show ['RHOBH'] and working with Erika Jayne and Dorit Kemsley, who love fashion and like to take a lot of fashion risks. They bring a lot — especially Erika, who I've worked with now for four years — and it inspires me to take more risks this season on the show, like wear wigs.
I've always worked with stylists for red-carpet events, but I've never worked with one for everyday wardrobe. I so love to do it myself, but it's gotten to be so big and there's so much for me to do that I hired a stylist, Marie-Lou Bartoli. I've had such a great time creating looks with her for the show. We're able to take it to the next level. I do a scene at the very end of the season — the final party — and I wear this great leopard-print Balmain dress with a short blonde platinum wig. It's so fun.
We usually only shop together on camera. It's really fun to shop with Kyle [Richards], Erika, Dorit — all of us. We're all good shoppers. We've been shopping together in Dubai, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Berlin. Dubai [was my favorite] because we went to that big mall [The Dubai Mall], which is huge. They have some great Chanel and Fendi there that you've never seen and pieces you can't find anywhere else.
I look at shopping kind of like hunting; I've always been a big in-store shopper. But now that online is so available, I've become a big online shopper. Net-a-Porter, Moda Operandi, Matchesfashion and Farfetch — I shop on all of them and, having Marie-Lou, she's also able to get me whatever I want. I can send her a picture and she can find it.
When I'm in New York, I love nothing more than to go down to Bergdorf Goodman and go to its shoe department. I just feel so at home there — but I love to be able to go to the different stores all over the world. I'm just like any sucker who loves something that's unattainable, unavailable.
I save a lot for the girls, like I save all the great pieces: all the Alaïa, all the Versace, all the Gucci, all the Tom Ford — everything that I have that's 25 years old. I have some Gucci by Tom Ford dresses that he did back in the '90s and I've saved any great gowns.
When Marie-Lou came aboard, she cleaned out my entire closet and made me sell almost everything and start over, which I did for the first time because I usually save everything. She said 'Nope, we're going to sell it all and you're going to get new stuff.' I did that and it felt really good, so recently I've just bought really, really good quality, chic pieces that I can have for another 20 years.
But the house has practically become a closet. [My daughters and I have] taken over and we're going to have to do some major add-ons. Delilah is moving into her own apartment, but she's over a lot. So between all of us, there's clothes everywhere. The girls get sent so much stuff and it's crazy.
We all borrow from each other, like I just got a really great Alexander Wang puffer coat from Amelia that I brought on my trip. The rule is: You have to ask or text somebody and let them know if you're borrowing it, you can't just take it. Then it has to go back exactly how it was found. Does that always happen? No. But that's the rule.
If you break the rule, you get in trouble and then you don't get to borrow — you have to go on probation for awhile. It hurts. Who's the worst at it? I'm not going to throw anybody under the bus."
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.