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Lucire 2011 The next big thing Tory Burch, mother of three, credits good time management to balancing her career as a designer with her family

Tory Burch’s universe

Tory Burch’s wearable, fluid and sophisticated looks have earned her a loyal following—and she’s come a long way since Oprah Winfrey called her ‘the next big thing’ in 2005, writes Lola Saab


ON MARCH 16, 2011, the Art de Vivre Fashion Talks, presented by the French Institute Alliance Française in New York, kicked off a series of talks with a one-on-one discussion with the famous American designer, Tory Burch. According to FIAF, its aim is to provide ‘innovative and unique programmes’, such as Fashion Talks.

This year’s Fashion Talks, hosted by the Chief Curator of the Musée de la Mode et du Textile at the Louvre Palace, Pamela Golbin, let us in on Burch’s thought processes and ideas.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, Burch landed in New York City working alongside a number of fashion designers. Her personal fashion horizons expanded, eventually becoming a popular icon in the fashion industry.

Her famous golden double-T logo has developed into a fashionable trade mark in a short period of seven years. Besides being a designer, she is also a mother of three boys, and describes the challenges that she has learned to overcome and face over the past years: ‘I have many challenges, one of which is being a mother and working.’ The secret to balancing these two jobs requires, ‘Time management,’ says the designer. ‘I wake up early and I’m home by six … I take my boys to school in the morning and I try to get home for dinner.’

The Tory Burch brand was launched in February 2004, but the designer’s success began in 2005 when Burch was invited to be the ‘next big thing in fashion’ on The Oprah Winfrey Show. ‘Oprah came to film in New York and we had a fashion show on her show and the next morning we had eight million hits on the site,’ explains the designer.

In 2008, the Council of Fashion Designers of America chose Tory Burch as its Accessory Designer of the Year: ‘To be given an award by your peers is great,’ says Burch.

Throughout the years, during New York Fashion Week, Burch has mainly organized presentations rather than fashion shows. She explains why she solely focuses on this idea, ‘Originally, [I chose presentations instead of fashion shows] for cost [reasons] but it is also easier for editors and journalists.’

In terms of her style and designs, she describes them as being, ‘classic with a little bit of a twist.’ The most important question that Burch and her team ask themselves when designing is, ‘Would I wear this?’ She illustrates what happens when the design process begins: ‘We talk and think of a place or a decade … and we think about colours … It’s an organic process.’

Burch portrays her spring 2011 collection as being an ‘evolution … fluid silhouettes.’ The collection mainly evokes the ’60s and ’70s theme. Burch is highly inspired by this particular time period.

In February 2011, during New York Fashion Week, Tory Burch presented her fall 2011 collection. The new season’s collection had flowing and sophisticated looks. The models sustained natural appearances, with straight hair and a delicate dab of make-up. The clothing portrayed details, a display of colours and classiness. Burch creates wearable, comfortable and elegant clothing fit for women of all ages.

Starting September 2011, Burch will put on the first Tory Burch catwalk show during New York Fashion Week.

Tory Burch’s flat shoes are exceedingly popular, providing women with a stylish, comfortable and attractive fashion statement. ‘Flats are chic and I love the way they look … it’s all about comfort and style.’

Burch’s stated goal is, ‘To provide the best products to customers for the least amount of money.’ She describes another objective she hopes to accomplish: ‘I want to teach young girls that it is important to have a choice.’ Other than choice, the designer also discusses the importance of confidence, an element she believes women should also wear. Another word of advice she provides women with is, ‘Women should dress their age …also know what looks great … Follow trends without them looking too trendy.’

Currently, there are 45 Tory Burch boutiques in America, Asia and Europe. Burch is at present becoming an internationally recognized designer. ‘I think the heart and soul of our brand is American, for sure, but we are also global …’ she says. •


Lola Saab is Paris editor of Lucire.


Spring–summer 2011

Autumn–winter 2011–12


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