With New York Fashion Week fast approaching and anticipation setting in for another season of everyone’s favorite television premieres, who better to chat with than Elle Creative Director and TV personality Joe Zee? We picked his brain about the recent influx of celebrity designers, his fashion week survival tips, and what it was like to head to Hollywood for season three of his reality show All On The Line, premiering September 10 on Sundance Channel, which we can only hope will have a “Joe Zee learns to surf” segment to match the über-hilarious one in which he learned to ski. One thing we can definitely count on, though, is a diverse bunch of West Coast guest stars like Octavia Spencer, Mary J. Blige, and Whitney Port, and a “bigger, bolder, tighter” program — which sounds like a winning combination to us.
Styleite: So with Fashion Week coming up, we wanted to know what collections you’re looking forward to this season.
Joe Zee: Well, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing The Row. You know, I think after Mary-Kate and Ashley won the CFDA Award, I have so much respect for what they do anyway. But I think there’s so much more excitement for what they’re doing. So I really look forward to that. I want to see what Victoria Beckham is doing, and my friend Katie Holmes is doing her first presentation ever here, so I’m excited about that. So I guess I’m excited about celebrity designers’ collections this Fashion Week.
Is that a first for you?
No, I mean, I always think Victoria Beckham is so talented. I think she’s done a great job on cultivating that line. I think the Olsen girls are so incredibly talented. And I’ve known Katie since the very beginning working on Holmes & Yang, and I think she’s done a great job at really growing that line slowly as well. I’m talking about celebrity designers that are really designing, that are really sort of in it. I think the whole idea of a celebrity designer has really changed a lot over the last few years. I think there’s definitely power that you want to really pay attention to.
Do you have a Fashion Week survival kit? What about a uniform?
Protein shakes. I never have time to eat because shows are every hour, on the hour. I’m usually in a cab heading to somewhere. I have all-day shows that go from first thing in the morning to way late at night. But I don’t know, for some reason, protein shakes really get me through it. You know, I always go to Juice Generation to pick up my shake. And on days when I don’t have time to think, I’ll reach for my black suit because that’s super easy. That’s my LBD. Girls? I get to have my own LBD. It’s my black suit. So yeah, on days where I’m tired or can’t think, that’s it.
What are some statement pieces this season that girls should wear to the shows?
Well, if you want to be seen by the street style photographers, that sort of competition for attention? I think if you want to do it, you’ve really got to be out there, you’ve got to be different, you gotta really stand out. But you know what? Throw it all together, put it all on, just get out there and walk with confidence, and I guarantee you’ll get noticed every single time.
All On The Line is heading to Hollywood this season. Did you notice any big differences from the West Coast designers?
Well I mean, if you talk about designers who are going to be regional, they’re going to represent the sensibility of where they are. If they’re in LA, they’re going to have an LA sensibility. If they’re in Chicago, you’re gonna have that. London, you’re gonna have that. And even though LA has its own sensibility, you can’t ignore it. And as much as you want to say ‘Oh, it’s American Apparel,’ there’s also a lot of very strong fashion coming out of Los Angeles right now. I think to go there, and help struggling designers kick start their businesses – that was my favorite thing to do. It was also, I have to say, a new point of inspiration for me. You know, I’ve worked with New York designers for the last two seasons. To go to LA was a whole new thing for me and all worked out for the best.
Are there any other Fall TV shows that you’re looking forward to this year?
Well yeah, I’m a sucker for TV. I love Revenge on ABC. So I love, love love, but I’m excited about Nashville, which my friend RJ Cutler worked on. But you know what? I think it’s time to bring the prime time show back. I love Revenge, big fan of Revenge. And you may actually see a cameo from Revenge on All On The Line. But I’m only going to tell you that and then you have to watch the show.