>> Rachel Zoe surprised a lot of people with The Rachel Zoe Project preview by coming off more personable than expected — but that's not the only surprise she has up her sleeve. 

The whole show is a stepping stone in expanding her brand, she confirmed via conference call yesterday. "My goal is to create a lifestyle brand.  Something that there's no limit to . . . that will go from belts and sunglasses to jewelry and clothes and fragrance and home."  

The products of that "all-encompassing" brand will reflect her sixties and seventies-influenced personal style, but also be affordable — the stylist is "obsessed with Topshop" and thinks "H&M is great," after all.

"I think anything I do will always have vintage inspiration. I mean, that's what drives me. It's the music I love. It's the clothes I love. It's the accessories I love. It's the icons from that time period I love," Zoe explained. "But I think that my number one goal is to bring a fantasy element to reality and make things affordable for people within any kind of budget."

First up: handbags! »

She has finished designing handbags for Judith Leiber after two seasons and is making the move to do handbags solo "sometime in the near future," suggesting that as soon as 2009 "we'll start to see products."

As for The Rachel Zoe Project, filming was wrapped in early May. The show officially premieres during New York Fashion Week, Sept. 9 on Bravo at 11 PM, while Rachel is in New York promoting the show and "attending everything I can. I love to support my friends when I'm in New York and I would never miss Marc Jacobs. I would never miss Oscar de la Renta, Diane von Furstenburg, Zac Posen, Peter Som, and Rodarte, of course. It's always fantastic."
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