Expanding World of Rachel Zoe

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					                             Expanding World of Rachel Zoe
     She's a stylist, reality TV star, designer and mom. And she's not
                            done — not even close.	
                                                               July 17, 2011	
By Booth Moore

Some babies have all the luck. The recent birth of Skyler                that tie at the neck, leather-trimmed capes with toggle closures,
Morrison Berman, for example, inspired a series of baby gifts            faux fur jackets, disco-short dresses with tiers of chiffon or
that could have been lifted from the pages of Vogue: a custom-           splashes of sequins, and diaphanous chiffon maxi-dresses.
made sweater the size of a tea cozy from Angela Missoni, a               Accessories include 51/2-inch platform pumps (not for the faint
child-size china setting from Marc Jacobs and a shearling                of heart) and chain-handle clutch bags.
snuggly from Georgina Chapman.
                                                                         The collection — backed by LF USA (a division of Li & Fung, a
Of course, when Mom is Rachel Zoe — celebrity stylist-turned-            Hong Kong-based global sourcing giant and producer of
reality TV star-turned-designer — and the gift-givers are                clothing, toys and furniture) — is selling in "contemporary
members of fashion's reigning class, glamour is expected.                departments" alongside clothes by designers such as Diane von
                                                                         Furstenberg and Alexander Wang. (It's been reported that Zoe
On a recent sunny afternoon, lounging by the pool of his Los             could earn as much as $20 million from the line.) Neiman
Angeles home with his nanny by his side, Skyler is wearing a             Marcus bought the collection for all 41 of its stores, and teased
blue striped Petit Bateau "1940s-style swimsuit," as Zoe                 the launch with an "Oh So Zoe" Facebook challenge that let
describes it, and brown Bonpoint fisherman's sandals. It's a             users style virtual looks and share them with friends.
milestone, the first day the 3-month-old wears shoes, though he          Bloomingdales is planning to devote the windows of its store at
already has more than a dozen pairs in his nursery, including            59th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan to the
Gucci loafers.                                                           collection.

Yet the new mother makes it sound as if life in Zoe land isn't           "In entertainment, they talk about people who can act, sing and
quite as glamorous as it used to be. "My whole day is about              dance as being triple threats. Rachel Zoe is a triple threat in
whether my son poops or not," she says.                                  fashion. She has a great eye, a larger-than-life personality and
                                                                         a whole entertainment world built around her," said Catherine
"The next thing you know, we'll be moving to Brentwood and I'll          Moellering, executive vice president of New York-based trend
be driving a minivan."                                                   forecasting firm Tobe Report.

Doubtful.                                                                Zoe's entree into fashion follows the direction in which the
                                                                         industry has been heading for some time, putting a premium on
Zoe is wearing a pair of flared tuxedo pants so long they nearly         charisma over craft. "In terms of a business model, Jessica
sweep the floor, and a sparkly cropped navy blue jacket. Both            Simpson or Rachel Zoe would be the model for fashion today,"
items are from her new line, the Rachel Zoe fashion collection           Moellering said. "Instead of being known for an iconic top or
landing in stores this month, and they allow her to exude a sort         dress, they are iconic personalities themselves, which allows
of career-woman vibe, to play the role of "execubitch." (And             them to be more flexible in how they branch out into other
don't worry — that particular term is a Zoe-ism.)                        categories."

Zoe's career trajectory has been impressive, going from no-              Although Zoe's design studio is in New York, Rachel Zoe Inc. is
name stylist to red carpet tastemaker, earning $6,000 a day,             headquartered in Los Angeles. (She plans to fly back and forth.)
with clients including Cameron Diaz, Eva Mendes and Demi                 Her husband, Rodger Berman, is president of the company,
Moore. The next step was full-fledged celebritydom, with a               which has different spaces for styling services, product
Bravo reality show, QVC line and, now, a fashion collection.             development, digital media (including production of her daily
And she's done it all in a decade.                                       style blog at RachelZoe.com) and the stylist's fashion archives.
                                                                         There are about 15 employees at the company, including
The fall collection, with prices that range from $250 to $700,           design director Eric Sartori.
oozes '70s style, which should come as no surprise to fans of
Zoe's trademark flowy peasant dress/oversized sunglasses                 Those archives must hold a lot of her clothes because the walk-
look. But don't expect "bohemian glamour," Zoe says. "I wanted           in closet at her house isn't nearly as stuffed as one might
androgyny and the powerful woman look. I've grown up a lot. I            expect. There are Chanel purses and Birkin bags tucked into
wanted an amazing white tuxedo for under $1,000 and a                    tidy cubbies. And hanging on a peg is her newest purchase, a
cocktail dress for under $500."                                          vintage Celine, bamboo-handled bucket bag so large it's easy to
                                                                         wonder if Zoe could fit inside. A rolling rack in the center of the
Most of the pieces are quite tailored and      have a vintage Yves       closet is filled with pieces from her fall collection, which she has
Saint Laurent vibe. "It's very Jane Birkin-y   and Anjelica Huston-      been wearing out and about recently, in full view of the
y and Bianca Jagger-y, with a splash of        sequins, a little Liza    paparazzi tracking her every move from nail salon to posh baby
Minnelli, thrown in," Zoe says.                                          boutique.
There are trouser suits with flared legs,      plunge-front blouses
Zoe knows how to play the game.
                                                                       Don't expect any more drama with her assistants, as in past
"How about Jennifer Lopez wearing my white tuxedo dress?"              seasons. (Two of her former assistants, Brad Goreski and
she says, plucking the double-breasted "Cameron" style from            Taylor Jacobson left the reality show in snarky plot twists that
the rack. "When I saw that picture, I froze. For the first time in     some observers say were engineered to boost ratings. ) "I've
my life, I got a taste of what it feels like to a designer when        learned lessons," Zoe says. "But you move on, and you realize
someone wears their clothes."                                          everyone is replaceable on some level. Except my husband.
                                                                       And my son, of course."
Lopez's stylist, whom Zoe says she does not know, pulled the
dress from the showroom, and Lopez was photographed                    Skyler will have screen time during Season 4 and will be sitting
wearing it June 15 in Paris. "I can't believe how kind and             on Mom's lap front row at the next round of runway shows in
gracious stylists in L.A. have been, pulling my designs," Zoe          September. (Zoe plans to show her spring 2012 collection
says, referring to her competition pulling clothing for their          during New York Fashion Week.)
celebrity clients to borrow for appearances and red carpet
events. "I figured since I was a stylist, and they're stylists, they   Later on this day, the Bravo TV crew is coming to the house to
wouldn't want it."                                                     shoot a barbecue, featuring Rodger's turkey burgers and
                                                                       Rachel's brownies. "I do have a private life," Zoe says. "I'm an
Zoe is ready to get back on the red carpet herself after a             executive producer, and when I say we're not shooting today,
pregnancy hiatus. Although she managed to style longtime               we're not shooting today. But as long as people enjoy [the
client Oscar host Anne Hathaway in eight different looks for the       show] and get the feeling that they are getting enough, great.
Academy Awards show in February, she missed the runway                 When I feel that's not possible anymore, then we move onto the
shows in New York and Europe that month because she                    next thing."
couldn't travel so close to giving birth. She also took a break
from QVC, but will return in September with new additions to           The next thing could be a home accessories line. Another TV
her Luxe Rachel Zoe line of outerwear and accessories, which           show is also a possibility.
tops out at $180.
                                                                       Zoe talks a lot about Oprah and Martha Stewart, and clearly
And on Sept. 6, "The Rachel Zoe Project" returns to Bravo for a        sees them as lifestyle-branding models. "I would love to do a
fourth season.                                                         talk show," she says. "I don't have any formal fashion training,
                                                                       and the reason I got into this business is because I love people.
The show began as "fashion porn," she says, in reference to            So for me, sitting down and digging into peoples' minds …
plotlines that have taken viewers behind the scenes at fashion         digging into designers' minds … would be really fun."
shows with Karl Lagerfeld, and styling sessions with flamboyant
figure skater Johnny Weir. But this season will be a little
different. "It will be more about seeing me as a career woman."

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