New York fash­ion de­signer Tory Burch gets up close and per­sonal with BAZAAR on the eve of her first fra­grance and beauty launch. By Su­nitha Thaya­paran.

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New York so­cialite and fash­ion de­signer Tory Burch ven­tures into the world of fra­grance and beauty

There’s an aes­thetic that’s dipped in the hal­cyon daze of sul­try Hamp­ton sum­mers and great Amer­i­can val­ues, like fam­ily foot­ball on Sun­day af­ter­noons. A bright, vitamin shot of happy, it’s been cap­tured by NYC so­cialite, en­tre­pre­neur, and mother of six (three boys of her own, three girls by mar­riage) Tory Burch. The de­fin­i­tive

BAZAAR girl – she’s an alum hav­ing done a stint at the mag­a­zine early on in her ca­reer – Burch slipped onto the fash­ion radar in Fe­bru­ary 2004. The brand of preppy bo­hemian Amer­i­can chic that thrives on pops of colour – orange and pink fea­ture promi­nently – is now over 80 stores strong world­wide while her fash­ion line is avail­able in the gi­ants that are Saks Fifth Av­enue, Bergdorf Good­man, Neiman Mar­cus, and Nord­strom, to name but a few. A lit­tle bon mot for those who al­ready love the Tory Burch ethos, the chic la­bel is mak­ing its way to our shores soon.

Just be­fore the launch of her first ever fra­grance and beauty cap­sule col­lec­tion, I find my­self sit­ting down to cof­fee with the icon her­self in a lux­ury suite at the Four Sea­sons Ho­tel Hong Kong. In her mid­for­ties, Burch moves with the light grace of a 20-year-old. She cred­its a 45-minute spin class called Soul Cy­cle plus el­lip­ti­cal work­outs for her trim sil­hou­ette. Slip­ping onto the couch, she shares: “I have to say I love Malaysia. I’ve been twice. The first time was in ’87. I was pretty young, in col­lege, and on this thing called Se­mes­ter at Sea where you lit­er­ally cruise from Spain to Ja­pan, an­chor­ing at dif­fer­ent ports as you do your course work. It’s a great way to learn and to gain in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure; the world is a big place.” Though she speaks in cool, mea­sured East Coast tones, there’s an un­der­ly­ing warmth to Burch, a jux­ta­po­si­tion that pops up con­sis­tently in the course of our chat. “The sec­ond time was a lit­tle more re­cent, en route to Thai­land, but I ex­pect it’s changed a lot more since then; it seemed re­ally fast-paced that way.”


When Burch talks about her epony­mous fash­ion line that runs the gamut of clothes and ac­ces­sories, her in­cred­i­ble suc­cess story seems a sur­prise even to her. From cult sta­tus off the noughties hit Gos­sip Girl, where her T-logo made its mark, to a clear nod of ap­proval from the Coun­cil of Fash­ion De­sign­ers of Amer­ica when she snagged the Ac­ces­sories De­signer of the Year award in 2008, to “Oprah love” and en­dorse­ment on The Oprah Win­frey Show, Burch’s easy, re­laxed style in­fil­trated the North Amer­i­can imag­i­na­tion with its in­her­ent prom­ise of the good life. Says Burch, “Ef­fort­less is a key word in ev­ery­thing I do. When you’re a mother and try­ing to run your own busi­ness or man­age a pro­fes­sional life you need to ref­er­ence a style that lets you feel and look beau­ti­ful with­out hav­ing to think too much about it. Be­tween school runs and man­age­ment meet­ings, who has the time?” she laughs. And there again, Burch has let slip another cor­ner­stone of the foun­da­tions of her brand: fam­ily. Case in point, the hit Reva bal­le­rina flat, named for the de­signer’s mother.

“Cer­tainly, my own fam­ily has in­flu­enced a lot of the aes­thetic of Tory Burch, from

the fret­work you’ll see in the bot­tle de­sign – that was a huge de­sign el­e­ment from my childhood, grow­ing up in a coun­try home with all that vin­tage wick­er­work – but more so in the char­ac­ter of my first fra­grance and even in the beauty range.” The launch of the fra­grance marks many firsts for Burch, in­clud­ing the first na­tional cam­paign shot by Pa­trick De­marche­lier in her home in the Hamp­tons, in which she stars. Even the sound­track is per­sonal, fea­tur­ing one of her favourite bands: Scis­sor Sis­ters.

“It’s lit­er­ally my childhood, my life, in a bot­tle. Also it’s kind of a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion of my fem­i­nine and tomboy sides,” laughs the pe­tite blonde. “I grew up with three brothers and we lived that clas­sic Amer­i­can out­door life. Even as my fa­ther was al­ways get­ting us out­side, my mother was that quin­tes­sen­tial pic­ture of fem­i­nin­ity. fem­i­nini I wanted to cap­ture both sides, so the fra­grance re­flects this and ve­tiver, a scent I strongly as­so­ci­ate as­so­ciat with my dad and brothers brothe is some­thing that comes come across. Women who like lik the brand al­ready will ap­pre­ci­ate how ve­tiver en­gages with the more fem­i­nine ac­cords of the scent and its flo­ral sen­si­bil­i­ties.”

With the new beauty range this very Tory Burch aes­thetic trans­lates. “Again I wanted some­thing clas­sic yet highly func­tional, so I went back to my childhood and ref­er­enced my mother. Grow­ing up, I re­mem­ber my mum’s dresser with all its atom­is­ers, po­tions, and bev­elled bot­tles. I used to climb up as a kid and play with ev­ery­thing. By the end of it,” she laughs, “I’d be a mess, and my mother would sweep me up in her arms and throw me in the bath. But then as I got older, she would come to me, and us­ing her lip­stick would add colour to my cheeks. And so the lip and cheek tint was born. I wanted women to have a small but beau­ti­fully edited arse­nal of must-haves that could take them ef­fort­lessly from day to night. From this new launch, eas­ily the scent and the Lip & Cheek Tint in Cat’s Meow are my two per­sonal must-haves; they just take you ev­ery­where.” When her team asked her to empty her cos­met­ics bag for an insight to her colour pref­er­ences, out came many dif­fer­ent brands of lip­sticks but all with the same pinky-nude shade. “So you see, the beauty range stays true to my per­sonal taste, which has al­ways in­formed the fash­ion side of things, g, too. It has to be easy and it has to be chic; there’s a c cer­tain re­straint and it ap­peals to women wh who like things nat­u­ral.


“Travel def­i­nitely d plays an im­por­tant r role in my world­view,” re­flects Burch Bur as she talks about en­ter­ing the mar­ket in Dubai and em­brac­ing the th in­cred­i­ble strength of the women of the Mid­dle East. “It never fails to in in­spire and I try to make sure sur my boys travel with me as much as they can. We’ve been to Myan­mar and n Peru, which were am amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, though last sum­mer it was a lit­tle more main­stream: Mon­tana and Italy. Dubai was pretty un­usual. My first time there was seven years ago with my boys and we did all the things you do in Dubai when you have boys: in­door ski­ing, sand-surf­ing, name it. But my sec­ond time, I saw a whole dif­fer­ent side of Dubai. I saw its depth, the re­ally cos­mopoli­tan as­pect, and how that meets the old world and also women en­trepreneurs.”

Women fea­ture strongly as an in­flu­ence in the de­signer’s life. “I have a great net­work of women friends who are all in their 80s. I grav­i­tate to­wards them be­cause of their sto­ries and ex­pe­ri­ence. Across the board, they speak of kind­ness and treat­ing peo­ple well and there’s a sim­i­lar vein in the sort of women I re­late to. It’s part of why I started the Tory Burch Foun­da­tion; I learned early on you have to give back. The foun­da­tion was al­ways part of the busi­ness plan, and some of the ini­tia­tives are ac­cess to cap­i­tal, men­tor­ship, and en­tre­pre­neur­ial ed­u­ca­tion. Right now it’s only in the US and ap­plies to busi­nesses out­side of fash­ion, too. We’re hop­ing to take it global at some point.

“I think what’s al­ways kept me grounded is fam­ily. My twin boys are now 16 and my youngest is 12. Here’s a lit­tle se­cret: I’ve never told them who’s older; I fig­ure it keeps the twin com­pe­ti­tion down to a min­i­mum and while it drives them crazy I’ve said all will be re­vealed when they turn 21. Two of my girls are launch­ing their own ba­sics la­bel called Trade­mark; I’m so proud of them. The boys have four mums, re­ally, their sis­ters re­port back on Face­book all the time. In the end, it comes down to the peo­ple you love; your fam­ily,” says the new fem­i­nist who doesn’t shat­ter glass ceil­ings as much as qui­etly bend spoons to de­fine her own re­al­ity. Wel­come to her world. The Tory Burch Fra­grance and Bath & Body Col­lec­tion is avail­able at all au­tho­rised Tory Burch fra­grance coun­ters na­tion­wide from Fe­bru­ary 2014.

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The Tory Burch Beauty Cap­sule Col­lec­tion will be avail­able in April 2014

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