Rachel Zoe, gracious by design

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BY DONNA FREYDKIN

Back before stylists were a thing, commanding six-figure salaries to dress Lupita and Beyonce and Gwyneth, there was Rachel Zoe, a willowy force of nature.

Her son Skyler, 4, hangs out with mom's client Jennifer Lawrence. Her younger tot, Kaius, almost 2, is as impeccably clad as any of his mother's celebs. She counts Marc Jacobs among her close friends. And she's never seen in anything but heels high enough to topple lesser mortals. Fashion is to her what prosciutto and mozzarella are to Mario Batali — that thing that gets her fired up. Speaking of --

"Riccardo Tisci is just on fire. Marc (Jacobs) is always on fire. Valentino — Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli are the nicest people," she says of the label, currently on nearly every celebrity's must list.

Zoe's stamina is impressive, but even she is wilting under the pressure of Fashion Week, where she showed her spring/summer collection on Sunday. Since then, she's hit the major shows, and in between catwalks, has snuggled with her boys.

"I woke up this morning and my eyes were running with water. I'm pretty shattered. I slept with Sky last night, so that was a great thing. It's the best. They snuggle up against you. I know you're not supposed to do that and typically we don't, but we're in New York and we have two hotels rooms and I just wanted to be with them," says Zoe.

Her new series, Fashionably Late with Rachel Zoe, premieres on Sept. 24 on Lifetime, after Project Runway, Unlike her previous forays into reality, this time, her kids are very much off-limits.

"Nothing about my family, no. Not involving my personal life, for me, is a gift. Once I had Sky — no. Definitely not for me," she says, adding that a return to TV "had to really feel right. I love talking to people. I love laughing and talking about fashion and style."

She's been rubbing elbows with, and hemming the dresses of, the A-list for going on two decades. But Zoe still gets adorably wide-eyed. Mention to her that Jane Fonda wore one of her suits to a press day while promoting her Netflix series, and Zoe nearly leaps out of her chair. Yes, that Jane Fonda.

Is there one person, living or dead, she'd love to dress? "Grace Kelly. I didn't say she needed styling. I would dress her exactly like she was but I'd want to be behind it. She's so perfect."

Behind the Scenes at NYFW with Rachel Zoe

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