Tory Burch Autumn/Winter ’18 may be inspired by style icon Lee Radziwill, but the designer’s own irreverent style is defining a new generation of uptown girls. By Amy Yasmine.
Over the course of 14 years, designer Tory Burch has become somewhat of a poster child for the American upper crust—preppy, polished, but with a bohemian spirit that sweeps the Upper East Side like a refreshing autumn’s breeze. It certainly reflects a change of times; a deviation from Y2K’s obsession with cinched-in bandaged silhouettes—think Tinsley Mortimer in Hervé Léger—to a more relaxed, 21st-century Talitha Getty-esque sensibility. Born into an affluent family in Pennsylvania, the 52-year-old designer spent her childhood climbing trees and running wild on her family’s 12 hectares of land. “I love this idea of outdoorsy glamour, a sort of tomboy-meets-girly look,” Burch once said in an interview. “That probably comes from being conflicted myself. I had very glamorous parents, but I didn’t put on a dress until I was about 15. I was more interested in riding horses.” Indeed, the billionaire’s parents, Buddy and Reva Robinson, were both equally dandy and extravagant. Her father, an investor, would wear dinner jackets lined with Hermès silk scarves, while her mother brought home a Saint Laurent ball gown for her daughter to wear to prom.
Nonetheless, Burch’s juxtaposed down-to-earth nature informs her personal sense of style and consequently, her eponymous label. Her Instagram feed is a solid representation of that: a vibrant mix of boho luxe and lady-of-the-manor sophistication. On any given day—or Insta-post—her look runs the gamut from a scarf-printed silk dress paired with ankle booties to a crisp shirt worn with a graphic bomber. Other times, it’s sporty palazzo joggers in Antigua, or a luxe cable-knit sweater effortlessly thrown over a midi paisley skirt in New York. “The clothes can’t wear you—it has to be about the woman,” she recalled her mother Reva’s advice, in another interview. “Less is always more, in her mind,” she added.
For Burch, however, this meant giving the less-is-more approach a modern sporty twist. A nod to her athletic-meets-bohemian disposition, Tory Burch Autumn/Winter ’18 was a succinct ode to that notion. Heavily inspired by American socialite Lee Radziwill, the collection riffed off elegant classics, but with a rugged twist. Unlike previous seasons, which relied heavily on the designer’s travels and childhood memories, this season stood out for its youthful—read: millennial—take, albeit it referencing one of the century’s most beguiling style icons. Take for example the oversized fur coats worn under shearlinglined parkas, or argyle knits worn over toile de Jouy midis. Rugged denims were given the day-dress effect, while structured croc bags gave the collection a stately appeal. It’s a look that even Insta-generation would flock to, considering its laid-back luxe approach.
In this regard, the designer owes her success to her own style, especially now that her company is worth USD5 billion—self-made, too. It’s what sets her apart from her American counterparts—Diane Von Furstenberg had Studio 54, Calvin Klein his American Gigolo tailoring, and Michael Kors his jet-set mode de vie. “My label is about women who are interesting, intellectually curious, stylish, busy, and doing things,” she explained in an interview early this year, and coincidentally, describing herself. “I want to make things [for women] that are effortless and chic.” And chic, it certainly was.
“I had very glamorous parents, but I didn’t put on a dress until I was about 15. I was more interested in riding horses.” – Tory Burch
Boho embellishments amped up a maxi dress The Lee Radziwill satchel, reminiscent of the icon’s elegant style Luxe fur paired with a ruffled Victorian blouse at Tory Burch Autumn/Winter ’18 A soft shearling coat paired with contrasting blooms
Rich velvets pared down with a casual satchel at Tory Burch Autumn/ Winter ’18
Double-duty layering: a fur coat and utilitarian parka
Tory Burch with her mother, Reva