NEW YORK – Some think they know the Tory Burch aesthetic because of the ubiquitous iconic gold metal branding on shoes and handbags, but more recently Burch has been focusing on the unexpected.
Her fall/winter 2023 presentation at New York Fashion Week on Monday night featured deconstructed looks in rich colors and fabrics that served as a creative surprise.
Burch loves a dramatic backdrop and says the space at the historic Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank (built in 1909 in the Beaux-Arts style) in downtown Manhattan set a scene, with mercurial shapes and artworks twisting into themselves, projected onto the towering ornate walls and a mysterious curtain that revealed the models as they entered.
“I just thought it was such an interesting venue to experiment with distortion,” Burch told The Associated Press in an interview following the show. “The collection is a lot about distortion and femininity, and so just even taking in Venus and having her feel distorted, and the architecture … you’re looking at something, and that’s perception versus reality.”
The show included Burch hallmarks — neutral, classic colors like navy, tan, black and olive, but with splashes of brightness in red or metallic shoes and purses. But many looks reflected the themes of deconstruction: asymmetrical lines in skirts and belts, long blazers, exaggerated blouse cuffs, and long and slouchy sleeves and pants.
“It was meant to be a bit undone,” Burch explained. "I wanted to crush that idea and challenge the concept of what is femininity and what is beauty, What is perfection? To me, it was a little bit about like how to do beautiful and construction and silhouette but also allow room for interpretation.”
The mixes of colors and fabrics were also unexpected — like a long navy wool jacket hugging the model’s shape, topping bright lime green satin pants that overflowed over pointed shoes. The jumbo-sized safety pins accenting skirts and dresses and appearing in punk-ish earrings stood out. Another themed element was the mix of casual fabrics with more luxurious ones. One look had a denim knee-length skirt paired with a navy wool peacoat with a shearling collar.
“The satin was this old lingerie idea, looks that were something that women traditionally hide, shapewear that I wanted to expose, and make that beautiful," Burch said. “I twisted them and we made them different proportions and they were off kilter.”
Burch shows often attract star power on the runway and in the audience. Models Emily Ratajkowski and Irina Shayk helped close out the show, while front row guests included actors Claire Foy, Suki Waterhouse and Lana Condor.
Model Ashley Graham said she’s a huge fan of Burch, especially for making clothing that is accessible at almost any size. Graham said she had to contain herself when she saw her model friends strutting the runway.
“When I’m watching the girls walk in the show, I’m like, ‘It’s OK, you’ve got this. Yes! You’re not going to fall. You’re owning it. You’re a supermodel!’ And it takes everything in me not to scream some of their names,” Graham said with a laugh.