At some point over the last few months, it began to feel like an assembly line: Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan ....
All of a sudden, you couldn't tell them apart: the drapey gowns clinging to skinny hips, the long blond tendrils falling over matchstick-thin arms, the smoky eyes accenting bottle-bronzed faces.
"Attack of the Clones" was the headline in Women's Wear Daily. "Lindsay Lohan's Double Visions," quipped People magazine above a photo of Lohan and Richie.
It might look like a peroxide wind is blowing through Hollywood, but there's actually a mastermind behind this look-of-the-moment: celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe.
And it turns out many of her clients look just like her: wispy-thin, golden-tressed, bronzed and sexy.
Zoe -- she was Rachel Zoe Rosenzweig until her agent urged her to drop her last name -- is one of a handful of sought-after Hollywood stylists who earn up to $6,000 a day. She dresses some of the world's most visible teen idols for film junkets, premieres and magazine shoots. (Mischa Barton, Jennifer Garner, Salma Hayek, Kate Hudson and Brittany Murphy are also clients.) As such, her power as an image maker cannot be underestimated. A recent entry on a Lohan fan site read: "I would do anything to look like her!"
It's not that no one has ever done the bohemian chic look before. Kate Moss and Sienna Miller have a similar, much imitated style, mixing vintage with modern-day romantic pieces, and inspiring designers such as Chloe's Phoebe Philo and Stella McCartney. For these English style icons, fashion is effortless. But in Hollywood, women are used to walking the red carpet. They have to look "done," with every detail perfect, down to makeup and hair. So Zoe has created her own brand of studied effortless chic.
"I'm not trying to make people look like me," she said during a recent interview at her Beverly Hills apartment, which has racks of designer clothing crammed in the entryway. "But when you spend a lot of time with someone, you rub off on each other. I think I'm kind of an older sister to Lindsay and Nicole."
In fact, it's not uncommon for Zoe, 33, to dress "her girls" as she calls them, out of her own overstuffed closet, full of free clothes given to her by designers in hopes that she or one of her clients will be photographed in them.
Zoe's style is grounded in 1970s sex appeal -- part biker chick, part disco denizen. During the day, she favors super-skinny jeans, sky-high studded or python stilettos by Gucci or Alexander McQueen, cropped Chanel jackets, and gold chains with shark-tooth charms from Kaviar and Kind. Her face is bronzed and her eyes lined and colored with frosted shadow. For evening, Zoe goes for drapey goddess gowns -- vintage Chloe or Yves Saint Laurent, and always clingy. (A recent purchase from Decades was a one-shoulder purple chiffon Halston.)
Thinness is essential. Rather than surgically enhanced breasts, Zoe has the reedy, flat-chested figure of hard-partying 1970s rock stars and Studio 54 regulars -- gold dust women like Bianca Jagger, Diane von Furstenberg, Diana Ross and Stevie Nicks. (Fashion insiders have whispered privately that she is single-handedly bringing anorexia back.)
The sultry 1960s and '70s look was championed by Tom Ford in the 1990s, so it's no surprise that Zoe "worships" the designer, who until recently worked for both Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. "There is virtually nothing that man has designed that I wouldn't wear," she said.
But for a 19-year-old like Lohan, the boho Barbie look can come across as a little world-weary, especially with the kohl-rimmed bedroom eyes and stark blond hair. Lohan had already dyed her hair for an upcoming role as Meryl Streep's daughter in "Prairie Home Companion" when she and Zoe started working on a new image in New York. "I remember sitting on her hotel room floor and saying, 'Now what do you want from me?' " The overall goal was to step up Lohan's style, she said, taking inspiration from Moss by day, in Balenciaga and Chloe, and Old Hollywood by night, with Brigitte Bardot lashes, heavy eyeliner and vintage YSL and Valentino dresses.
"I am the biggest fashion-obsessed person in the world," said Zoe. "But in Lindsay, I feel like I may have met my match. If she wasn't an actress, she would be a stylist, because she would have to be." Zoe remembers a night Lohan dropped by her apartment at 9 p.m. to pick up a bag and ended up staying four hours, trying on clothes and taking Polaroid pictures "just for fun."
Zoe's apartment is jammed with hundreds of designer pieces -- a vintage YSL safari jacket, a lavender Chanel parka, Balenciaga boots, a Gucci black woven-leather biker jacket, plus jeans by Levi's, Jordache, Hudson, Rock & Republic and more -- much of it unworn, with the tags still on it.