When I first heard there was a DreamDry, a New York based blowout salon franchise, location being planned for Chicago there was one thing on my mind- Would Rachel Zoe be at the opening? The wardrobe stylist to the stars, turned author, turned reality TV star, turned fashion designer, turned all around mogul has undoubtedly carved out her own pint-sized (yes, she’s perfectly petite in person) place in fashion history and is not only a household name, but one of my personal fashion icons. DreamDry (located at 904 W. Armitage) has been one of Rachel’s latest business ventures that she’s undertaken with her friend, turned franchise CEO, Robin Moraetes.
If it sounds like Rachel is a little busy these days it’s because she is. One of the major takeaways I had from our conversation is that she is actually deeply involved and passionate about every project she takes on, this is not a celebrity-lending-their-name situation. Add in raising two boys, Skylar, 3, and baby Kaius, and I see why she’s so drawn to the blow-out salon concept- quick, luxurious hairstyles for women on the go.
Meeting someone you admire is always tricky because there’s the risk that they won’t live up to your expectations. Sitting down with Rachel surpassed all of mine. There was an overwhelming sense that not only is she brilliant, but also genuinely nice. She was interested in my pregnancy, what’s going on in Chicago, was the temperature in the room okay for everyone, etc. So often, Rachel is recognized for her valley girl voice cadence, quips, and catchphrases (ie. “I die.” or “That’s Ba-nan-as.”) but I was blown away by how well spoken she was in person. Yes, there are moments in our interview where she was casual (which made me feel like I was sitting with a girlfriend I’d known and loved forever), but get her seriously going on about her business and the woman is polished, professional, and very poised. Not always the case in these celebrity interviews. You’d be surprised. So without further ado, here is my conversation with Rachel Zoe and her friend and business partner, Robin Moraetes…
Before we dive into the world of DreamDry, Rachel- I’d love to start with your roots as a [wardrobe] stylist. Is there a tip or trick that stylists use that we should all be adding to our repertoires?
Rachel Zoe: Honestly, there are so many! But I would have to say topstick is a favorite. That might be a given, but it really is amazing. I don’t ever leave my house without it. You can use it to do a quick hem on a pant, you can use it so that you don’t have to wear something underneath and keep everything strategically placed, you can fix a strap. It really is a great styling security blanket to have. I could go on for days!
It’s so funny because when I started out as a “stylist” everybody used to say So you do hair? They thought I was a “hair stylist”, and the answer to that question was definitely no, but in the past 15 years or so the term stylist has become so much more ambiguous, it can mean so many things, and now here we are today talking about both “styling” and hair styling!
So speaking of hair, we’re obviously here, sitting upstairs, in your beautiful new blow dry salon, what are some hair tips and tricks that the two of you swear by?
Robin Moraetes: My favorite hair top, and one thing we always do here is when you’re done washing your hair you finish with a cold rinse.
Rachel Zoe: It’s painful! It’s not something you enjoy but it seals everything in.
Robin Moraetes: It’s a shot of cold.
Rachel Zoe: At home I keep my body out of the water, back into it real quick, for 2 seconds, and then you turn the water back to hot to warm your body- that’s the secret! Just keep the cold on your hair!
Robin Morates: So true! It’s amazing how it seals in the shine. We both love it so much that on our new blow dryer, the DreamDryer, we added a “cool shot” that you want to use at the end to lock in the style. So- you’re styling with heat, you’re styling with heat, and then at the end for three seconds hit the “cool shot” and it locks everything in!
Look at this amazing blow dryer set! This is brand new, right?
Rachel Zoe: Isn’t it gorgeous? It is brand new. Literally just launched 10 days ago. It’s such a great gift!
Robin Moraetes: We have them hand made in France. It’s the fastest, quickest, quietest blow dry you’ll ever get. 85 miles per hour.
Rachel Zoe: But most importantly it will look gorgeous on your counter!
You just read my mind, Rachel! That’s my top criteria for beauty products.
Rachel Zoe: So true! I even love the box! Guys look at this, this is how it comes! This is not a box you throw away, you keep it and store things in it.
Robin Moraetes: The box actually functions as a drawer, so once you take everything out you can store things in this baby!
What else comes in the box with the blow dryer?
Robin Moraetes: It’s the blow dryer, the DreamDetangler- which you’re going to use after you’ve done your cold rinse in the shower on wet hair, though it will also work on dry hair. Rachel keeps stealing them all!
Rachel Zoe: I do. I’m obsessed. They’re so compact and they don’t break your hair like normal brushes can, plus you can always find it in your purse because it’s silver.
Not to mention, it looks good on the counter!
Rachel Zoe: But seriously, my favorite part.
What’s the last thing in there?
Rachel Zoe: You need to look chic when you get out of the shower- it’s a turban!
Robin Moraetes: Feel how soft it is. It wraps just like a regular turban, and absorbs 70% of the water in your hair to cut drying time in half. I swear!
Speaking of turbans… Let’s talk personal style! Rachel, you’re always so consistently glam- I’m dying to know how you’ve seen your personal style evolve over the years.
Rachel Zoe: Well, definitely more black since I became a mother! What’s funny is I generally wore black for the majority of my life when I lived in New York…
That’s a rule, right?
Rachel Zoe: It is! Then I moved to LA and started wearing much more print, much more color, and never wore black. Then I had my first son and I was like- okay, my uniform has to be black, navy, dark. I’m going to get food on anything I’m wearing. I’m going to be in the dirt. At some point today I’m going to get spit up on. My style has definitely changed. Now dresses are replaced by jumpsuits most of the time. Trousers and dresses are often replaced by dark denim jeans and a cropped jacket. So, I would say I’m always going to love bohemian glamor, but weirdly things have become a little more polished because I’m older- sometimes you have to stop dressing a certain age.
Robin Moraetes: Stop saying that!
Rachel Zoe: Well I am 31. Fine, 32. I’ll tell the truth.
Robin Moraetes: We’re the exact opposite- I came from LA and my whole wardrobe was color! Now I live in New York and the only color in my wardrobe is lipstick.
That’s really all you need!
Rachel Zoe: It goes with our black and white chevron floors. [A signature DreamDry design staple]
Robin Moraetes: Shinny chevron! That’s our baby!
Rachel Zoe: Do you remember? It was literally the torment of our first opening yet it’s one of our proudest things!
Robin Moraetes: Oh my gosh, when we were arguing about the chevron floor on camera [during taping of The Rachel Zoe Project] and then something collapsed behind us in the background and we just continued to argue about the chevron floor…
Rachel Zoe: I love it so much though! I get happy every time I look at it!
It was the first thing we noticed and commented on when we walked in.
Rachel Zoe: I have a massive 11 by 14 foot cowhide, chevron rug in my dinning room at home, so that just proves I wish I lived in DreamDry all the time!
You had me at cowhide chevron. So how did you two come together and decide to make DreamDry a reality?
Rachel Zoe: I think it was really just born out of necessity for women on the go everyday. I personally, as someone who has always had blow drys and is surrounded by my mother and sister and friends who have always needed blow drys, I can’t name a woman in my life between the ages of 14 on, who doesn’t want and need their hair blown. Whether it’s every other day, once a week, once a day. It’s personal to whatever your needs are, but that’s really kind of how it was born.
Robin Moraetes: We really just wanted to make it accessible to everyone. That’s our tagline- Everyday glamor. It used to be about an occasion, and now it’s about everyday. The styles we offer- it really is everyday glamor. We have a client in New York who comes 6 days a week.
Rachel Zoe: Oh, we love her! I really want to help women live a more glamorous life, at an affordable price point, with a luxurious experience, that I think a lot of women dream of having but might not have time for. We’re all about in and out, with incredible service and results. It makes you more confident!
I know you’re both very involved with the hair styles that DreamDry offers, and Rachel, I understand that creating the menu is especially your baby. So what styles so we all be trying right now? Any great hair trends on the horizon?
Rachel Zoe: I have a longtime obsession with braids! There are braids everywhere on the DreamDry menu. We’re constantly adding new styles, since hair is always evolving, but you never want to loose the classics. You can never take away the topknot for example. Then there’s the Brigitte and the Stevie, great hairstyles are typically inspired by an icon and then you take that idea and make it modern. Then also, I’m always looking at great sartorial street style. There will be some random woman in Paris, running to a car, with amazing hair…
Robin Moraetes: Then she’ll literally take a picture and I’ll get a text. It’s amazing! I love it! Rachel Zoe is our woman on the street and she’s inspired by everywhere she goes, and everyone she meets. I’m here running the business…
Rachel Zoe: She’s running the business, making my dreams come true! She really does. It’s like a Hall & Oates song! [She sings a line from the Hall & Oates classic "You Make My Dreams Come True". I nearly pass out from excitement that Rachel Zoe is dropping classic rock/pop references and singing to me...]
I love seeing and hearing how everything from the hairstyles to the chevron floor design is actually coming directly from you two. It’s very evident that you’re not just slapping your name on something here.
Rachel Zoe: No, this is how it has to be!
Robin Moraetes: We won’t do something unless it’s absolutely perfect. Don’t get me wrong she’ll send me something but it might not be able to be executed properly so we won’t do it.
Rachel Zoe: Everything has to be executed perfectly.
Robin Moraetes: We want everything to be sophisticated, and we’re super serious about training and education. Nothing is going to go out there unless it’s 100%.
Rachel Zoe: You’ll see when you come in that it’s really about the experience, and it’s really different from any other blow dry salon out there.
Okay you two, it’s somehow been a full 7 minutes since I’ve asked Rachel a fashion question… What’s on the horizon for Spring? What are you loving? Is there anything you’re hating?
Rachel Zoe: For Spring there’s a lot of peasantry, there’s bohemia- which I always love to see, but it’s being done in a really modern way, 60′s everywhere! Lots of big huge bold prints and things like that. There are a lot of long tunics over pants, which always comes back around every once in awhile, and I love it. It makes me very happy.
Any trends that need to go?
Rachel Zoe: You know, fashion is in a really interesting place right now because the rules are just not there anymore. Everything is transitional. You can take your summer clothes to winter by layering, you can wear bohemian dresses in the winter with tights and a biker jacket. It’s bizarre! Fashion just isn’t at all what it used to be where you wore this this time of year, and something else is only relevant for a few months and then it’s gone. It’s just not so exact. There actually isn’t anything right now that I would say I don’t ever want to see again. Which is unusual, because there definitely has been in previous years!
Can I ask you two to humor me with some quick answer/free association? It tends to be my favorite part of interviews.
Rachel Zoe: Absolutely!
What’s your favorite restaurant?
Rachel Zoe: L’Avenue in Paris.
Robin Moraetes: I’m going to give you a Chicago answer- Girl & The Goat. I love Stephanie Izard!
Rachel Zoe: Claridge’s in London.
Robin Moraetes: I’m a big fan of the Waldorf Astoria, again here in Chicago. Great design!
Rachel Zoe: Sitting in my bathrobe and not leaving the house.
Robin Moraetes: Staying in on Friday night and shopping online.
Rachel Zoe: Why don’t we just say staying in 7 nights a week in our bathrobes while shopping online?
Robin Moraetes: While watching the Devil Wears Prada rerun on TV!
Rachel Zoe: Or any Hugh Grant movie! Notting Hill. Anything. A Hugh Grant marathon!
Robin Moraetes: Tom Ford anything.
The best! I’m wearing Wild Ginger. What are your favorite nail colors?
Rachel Zoe: Tom Ford Bourdeaux Lust.
Robin Moraetes: I’m an Essie white tip.
Rachel Zoe: Oh, an oldie!
Robin Morates: Yeah, but it’s so good though!
Rachel Zoe: A lot!
Robin Moraetes: But your most favorite is…
Rachel Zoe: Well, the signature Jonathan Adler DreamDry candle.
Robin Moraetes: It’s launching in January.
Robin Moraetes: Didot. Specifically, Didot italic.
Rachel Zoe: This is too tech-y for me! I guess the DreamDry font?
Robin Moraetes: That’s Gothic.
Rachel Zoe: Well there you go! I didn’t even know it had a name. Didn’t we create it?
Robin Moraetes: Well the “DreamDry” is a created font, but the “Make Everyday Glamorous” slogan is Gothic.
What’s your spa service of choice?
Rachel Zoe: An at home facial. Or really anything at home.
Robin Moraetes: Oh, a massage! Everyday. Even if it’s just a foot massage… for like 5 hours.
Rachel Zoe: I’ll take anything! Really, just anything! With the two boys that are so heavy I wake up everyday and feel like I just can’t move a single body part.
I must say, with my own little guy on the way in a few months, it was very hard not to ask you 10 questions just about baby boys, where to find the best clothes, etc.
Robin Moraetes: Right down the street!
Rachel Zoe: Oh, Monica & Andy- I’m in town so quickly and wish I could go! I traveled here carry-on only and I’m very proud of that even though it’s such a short visit.
[Photos By Hallie Duesenberg]