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Rachel Zoe and Prabal Gurung Talk NYFW Jitters, Dressing Kate Middleton and Getting Inspired

On the final night of New York Fashion Week, I was invited to sit in on Rachel Zoe's American Express Exclusive Cardmembers show, during which the style superstar restaged her Spring 2013 runway show for a select group of AmEx clients. But before the clothes hit the catwalk, Rachel and her close friend Prabal Gurung (who was playing host for the evening—"I'm channeling Oprah today!" he joked) pulled up a couple of chairs and treated the audience to a casual Q & A. Read on for the best bits of their chat.

  • On how she handpicked Prabal as her host for the event: "They asked me who I wanted to host, and I was like, 'Prabal.' And then they said, 'OK, and if he can't do it?' And I was like, 'Prabal!' There was no second choice. He was my only option."
  • On her first styling client: "He was this eight-year-old boy, a family friend who literally wore Adidas tracksuits every single day—no offense, I love Adidas. And I went over to his house and lay out a week's worth of complete, head-to-toe outfits for him!"
  • On occasional career fatigue: "There are days when I turn to my husband Rodger and am just, like, 'I can't.' And he just says, 'You have to, because your name's on it.'"
  • On traveling with one-year-old son Skyler: "I am so lucky to be able to travel everywhere with him. Not all mothers have that luxury."
  • On Prabal's politeness: "He writes the nicest, sweetest emails. They make me cry sometimes!"
  • On gleaning inspiration: "I wish I could be one of those designers who [is] like, 'I went to Morocco, to the most remote part of the country, and designed a 40-piece collection based on the hue of this one little bead I found.' But I'm not that person."
  • On overseeing every aspect of her collections: "A lot of times, designers bring in stylists just for that outside perspective. For me, because I do the design and the styling, sometimes I'll look at something and be like, 'Oh, that's just awful.' I style every single look a minimum of four times."
  • On the hazards of sending samples down the runway: "Sometimes when protos come in and they're not ready for production, things can break—heels, sleeves—like, while they're on the models!"
  • On pre-show nerves: "All the designers I know in this business—and we're talking the top people in the industry—are terrified up until the moment their show starts."
  • On where she sees herself in five years: "Well, I hope that Sky Sky has a sibling! Other than that, as long as it involves a little beach and a lot of family time, I'll be good."

After the interview, Rachel turned the mike on Prabal for a few minutes, asking her friend how he felt about Kate Middleton's wearing one of his designs. He called the moment "amazing" and "surreal," and explained that Rachel's been a huge source of support since he first launched his line. "She's been my biggest champion—her support changed the landscape of my career. She's my groupie!" Seems like that love is mutual.

Photo courtesy of American Express

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