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Abiding by her father’s advice, she said she considers each day to be “a blessing” and tries to be thankful for everything, from the plates we use to the opportunities we have. Given the homebody life she described, it was not surprising to hear she does not keep tabs on the tabloids. “To be honest, I really don’t see it. My days are so full. I’m working so, so much and really I’m just with my family and friends. It’s just not a part of my life. I actually never really know [what is being written].”
Interestingly, music is always the starting point for her creative process. That concept might be a holdover from her figure skating days. In fact, the sport, which she competed in nationally for 11 years, indirectly led her to fashion. At the age of seven, Richie started working with her father’s costume designer, who used excess fabric from his stage clothes to whip up her on-ice confections — a leaf-covered “Legends of the Fall”-inspired gold costume was a particular favorite. Their collaboration lasted until her senior year in high school. “Then I had a choice to skate or to go to college. I chose college,” she said.
In music, Richie is a huge fan of Janis Joplin and other classic rockers and gets to live shows when she can. Lately, she has been listening more to Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Etta James, which has translated into a more romantic spring collection. Frequent jaunts to her parents’ home state of Alabama furthered that direction.
Wearing a pearl-colored Winter Kate brocade jacket, House of Harlow 1960 shoes, a vintage Chanel bag, a ring of her own design and black jeans and a black top from brands she wasn’t sure of, Richie laughed as she recalled how, as a teenager, she covered her bathroom walls with favorite fashion moments clipped from Vogue. Her taste has since evolved to Balmain. “There is something about all of it that is a little bit extra — something over-the-top,” she said of the collection.
As for magazines’ practice of dissecting celebrities’ style, Richie said, “There are positives. There are young girls out there who want to know and who are interested in fashion. Interest is never a bad thing.” The wider range of runway models is another plus. “I like that things aren’t so uniform anymore. I love that you’re seeing darker-skinned women and curvier women on the runway. And it’s not putting down any other type. The whole message is it doesn’t matter if you’re thin or you’re curvy. You’re beautiful in your own way. That’s what God gave you, so it’s beautiful.”
Asked how Zoe influenced her personal style, Richie said, “Rachel was my stylist. Now I work with Simone Harouche. I’ve pretty much always been into fashion, and the fun part is experimenting with different looks. A month ago I had long dark hair and then I chopped it all off and bleached it blonde. That’s what fashion is all about — it’s about playing with different looks. When I was 14, I dyed my hair green, and then I dyed my hair pink. When I was 20, I went through a grunge stage, and then a very sophisticated stage. That’s part of fashion — it’s a way to let go and to express yourself. It’s fun to dress up and play with different looks. I’ve been doing that for really my whole life.”
But she is in no great rush to advertise or stage a fashion week presentation. “I would eventually like to have a presentation. It’s good to have goals,” she said. “But I don’t think it’s healthy to have everything all at once. You need to build up to that, and I’m not ready yet.”