The A-list clientele that style powerhouse and "Box of Style" creator, Rachel Zoe attracts through her uniquely refined aesthetic, led us to correctly assume that this year's ZOEasis was going to be an elegant affair. The event was showered in extravagance with themes of curated customization, while paying attention to even the smallest details to ensure a special afternoon for all invited guests.
With the sun at its peak over Palm Springs, exiting the air conditioned shuttle bus was a saddening affair. The short walk into the ZOEasis confirmed that the mid 90 degrees were upon us as Team Fauxchella quickly found solace in the shade of one of the tented kiosks, where others had gathered to do the same. Immediately we were offered frozen "paleta" style popsicles by Teebsie, which took the edge off of the heat.
I could feel my morning application of sunblock losing its protective embrace so I quickly grabbed a can of "HINT" sunscreen, sitting on one of the tables. (Laws of Fauxchella command that while frolicking in the desert sun, you must always protect your skin with sunblock. Lobster-red tan lines and melanoma are a preventable faux pas, so get yourself protected.) With can in hand I proceeded to spray THE BEST SMELLING grapefruit scented cloud of SPF30 all over my pale AF skin. Seriously, anyone who has either hated or have just become bored of the traditional pseudo-tropical chemi-coconut scent of blocks will find this fruit-hinted sunscreen a godsend. With skin protected, I was ready to continue my journey through the ZOEasis. For those interested, a 6 oz. can of HINT fruit-scented sunscreen runs for a steep $24 a pop, but being paraben and oxybenzone free and having such a lovely fragrance, it's worth every penny in my book.
Next up we came across some adorable Asian-inspired parasols that were located on tables and in little buckets along the paths of the palatial retreat. What a nice touch that no other event has ever provided in the past 6 years of my Fauxchella tenure. Honestly, how many branded towels do we really need, especially for those of us that never jump into the pool during an event. Sorry, my Fauxchella weekend would be wasted on re-doing my hair and make-up if I did that. My point is HOW BRILLIANT to be given a complimentary umbrella that I’ll actually use to hide from the sun!!!
With parasol in hand we began to really take the lay of the land, which was a labyrinth of luxury to say the least. The gourmet coffee bar with its adorable latte art (OMG they had little panda faces!) would normally be a hearty "yes please," but with the temps being so high, we passed on any hot liquids and moved along.
Next kiosk over was where NCLA nail wraps were being given to many well cared for hands. The patterns on the wraps coordinated with the new line of MCM bags displayed on a nearby table, and YES, I wanted my nails “did” but time was against us and we had more areas to explore.
Tucked in a grove of trees next to an adorable vegetable garden I stumbled across a lady creating custom calligraphy messages drawn onto glamorous, oversized straw sun hats. As we stepped up to the artist she greeted us with a smile and asked “What would you like on yours?” I chose "C'est La Vie" because I was definitely feeling "Tres chic" at the moment.
Right next door was the multi chair OGX beauty tent providing braids and curls for the girls and some boys as well. Stylists worked their magic to freshen up everyone's looks as they enjoyed the ZOEasis.
A major hit (pun intended) for us and many others was the custom (there's that word again!) hand stamped and shaped silver cuff station from Miansai, where one lady painstakingly stamped letters into solid slivers of silver, then shaped them into perfect fitting cuffs, one at a time for patient guests. We were told the wait was going to be over three hours, but if we were local, we could visit the Venice Beach brick and mortar shop on a later date to get our complimentary silver slivers stamped....which is what we plan to do.
Premium libations are a foundation of any Fauxchella event, and of course, a stylish fête such as this did not disappoint. With tequila created by supermodel Cindy Crawford’s husband Rande Gerber and accomplished actor, George Clooney, Casamigos Tequila was a perfect fit in this desert retreat setting. But not everyone can do the tequila thing, so Three Olives Vodka provided the others with drinks (soda and lime, please!) as Wölffer Wine poured the “big kid” grape juice.
RK: We couldn’t help but be guided by our noses as we stumbled upon a distressing cheesy dilemma...gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches or wood-fired organic pizza…? The Cheezus station had chefs feverishly working to assemble Capri themed artisanally crafted paninis with fresh ingredients and of course CHEESE, grilled to perfection.
Urban Pie, right next door, had a mobile wood-fire oven and a pizza pie creating crew that churned out gourmet pizzas that were to die for. My favorite was the "Brooklyn Bee Sting" with Zoe's pepperoni, drippy mozzarella cheese and drizzled calabrian chili honey on top. Kimberly opted for the equally delicious "Fun Guy" aptly named due to its hen of the woods mushrooms, portabellos, truffles, leek bechamel, thyme, melted fontina and parmesan...YUM
KH: With cocktails in hand and satiated bellies we stumbled into a tiny grove of trees and bushes where tables were set up. One displayed the highly sought after “Rachel Zoe’s Box of Style.” A quarterly subscription box where members receive personally curated items selected by Rachel herself, every three months. The other table had black totes filled with goodies as gifts for attending guests. The totes were heavy with clanking metal sounds emanating from within. Taking a quick peek revealed a lavender Corkcicle tumbler, a can of the aforementioned holy grail of sunblocks from HINT, sample sized bottles from SK-II skincare, lip love from IT Cosmetics, Hollywood Fashion Secrets lint removing sheets, a super fun leather Henri Bendel monogram bag charm tassel (to give a boring purse some flair), a pair of LSTN Wembley bamboo earbuds (super dope rad) and a metal jewelry display tray. This was definitely something to write home about.
RK: But the best was yet to come…Through a secret pathway leading up to a tiny gate, there lay a private pool area transformed into the Google x Live Case #TeamPixel gifting lounge. Last year Google released their first branded phone called the Pixel. With impressive features, a crisp design, unlimited online storage, incredible VR abilities and extraordinary camera specs, this new kid on the mobile block was designed to give all of the reigning cell phone giants, a solid run for their money. Nothing is more exciting than being greeted by an employee of Google as you are handed a white box with the words “PIXEL” on it and on this sunny afternoon the excitement abounded for a select number of handpicked guests. Gasps of joy and glee could be heard as brand new boxes containing the Pixel phone coupled with Rachel Zoe Live Cases were handed to influencers, fashionista bloggers, celebrities and other social media elites.
Live Case, created by Google, is a customizable service that allows users to upload their own images or pick available designs from artists and creatives such as Skrillex, Jeff Koons and of course, Rachel Zoe. What makes Live Case so unique is that on top of being a protective case, each one comes with a theme related digital “live” wallpaper and programmable shortcut button, embedded within the case which come alive, via NFC, once your phone is inserted. Voila, the first ever “smart cases” to compliment and protect your Google smart phones.
As excited recipients opened up their extravagant Pixel gifts, they were offered choices of RZ Live Cases which immediately transformed the cold metal lines of tech into attractive stylish accessories. This was definitely one of Team Fauxchella’s favorite in the desert and also the one that got away…sad to say we entered the gifting lounge just as the last Pixel was passed on.
KH: As we left the Google lounge with our heads hanging low, our spirits were quickly lifted by the angelic voices coming from the stage as a four girl group, The Aces, serenaded the crowd.
And with one final cocktail down and a bag of loot on our shoulders we left the ZOEasis Style Retreat into the waiting air conditioned arms of the shuttle bus. Thank you Rachel Zoe for the relaxing oasis of style.
*words by KH - Kimberly Hall / RK - Rich Kim