Wardrobe investment: How Tory Burch drew us in with her very personal collection
“It’s all about familiarity, the things I know”—Tory Burch
Stories are always better when they're an excerpt of real life. Only life can imbue a tale with the colourful anecdotes and intimate details it requires to truly breathe. For Fall/Winter 2017, Tory Burch's life in her hometown of Philadelphia becomes invariably intertwined with "The Philadelphia Story" many know from a different time.
The latter pointed our designer to Katharine Hepburn's notable role as Tracy Lord—a capricious romantic whose sharp-witted, tony ways sheltered the regular gal beneath—which drew some semblance towards Burch's personal upbringing. In the fearless and irreverent portrayal, a muse was established. Meanwhile, the 1940s onscreen wardrobe that toed the line between ritzy and relatable served as inspiration.
An invitation to the Hong Kong Fringe Club—an eclectic arts venue seated upon a gentle slope within shouting distance of the ever bustling Lan Kwai Fong—gave us private view of Tory Burch Fall/Winter 2017. It was here, on a scorching afternoon, that we found reprieve—and a few things on the side:
We found hope—for the less streetwear inclined
The casual, the normcore, and the athletic may be having their moment of late but there's nothing quite like a posy of florals to brighten things up. Burch hands us the bouquet in three ways: she drew the curtains for daytime foliage with an elegant glossy chintz-like fabric, her mother's love for blue lupin flowers materialised in the vintage-inspired, blue-and-white Rosemont print, and sumptuous blue velvet pieces for evening are replete with botanicals in gold brocade and metallic devoré.
The notion of "outdoor glamour" that produced this season's underlying aesthetics derive directly from the hours spent outdoors on the Burch family farm and home. "My dad would go out on his tractor, and be perfectly dressed in a pink shirt and khakis. My mom would be in her garden for six hours a day, and then she would come down for dinner with wet hair, a lamé shirt and pants and look as glamorous and effortless as possible. I wanted to recreate that in this collection.”
We found faith—in the fashion cycle
Recent seasons prove that many designers carry a torch for the seventies; Tory Burch goes beyond, to reference the 1940s silhouettes that started the trend of louche tailoring. Between the flared pants, wide lapels, generous cuts and mannish shapes, three eras of fashion coalesce in the collection; connecting her past and present with her inspiration.
Elements that border on being outmoded return with flair—corduroy bottoms lend a rugged appeal; and houndstooth, glen plaid and the tattersall formed a melange of intermingling checks. “Plaid is a classic in Philadelphia, but we wanted to do our take on it. I like mixing plaids but also love a classic check with pastels or florals. It feels chic and fresh.”
By the way, who would have thought that the Fair Isle would be due for a comeback?
We found God—in the details
As previously iterated, details are a byproduct of an authentic narrative. And considering the rich stories woven into the range, we find pieces rife with details. "TB" embroidered in elaborate script adorn cravats and alabaster coats, painterly strokes reveal the likeness of Edgar Degas' ballerinas upon close inspection, pearlised shell buttons exquisitely congregate in beautiful motifs on column dresses, coats and structured bags.
And like a cherry-topped sundae, keen eyes would spy ensembles topped with a handsome gold locket. What is it? Nothing but a wink to the cigarette lighter belonging to Tory Burch's own father, Buddy.
That day, we found clothes with meaning.
You can find the Tory Burch Fall/Winter 2017 collection at the Pavilion, KLCC and The Gardens boutiques from today onwards.