TORY’S CLOSE-UP: Call it kismet or just a coincidence. Three weeks after Christopher Burch filed a lawsuit against his ex-wife, Tory Burch, the fashion mogul graced the small screen in a segment on “Rock Center with Brian Williams” Thursday night. NBC aired the piece, “There’s Something About Tory,” on its 10 p.m. weekly broadcast, but the story had been months in the making — 10 months — to be exact.
Williams’ producer Jay Kernis met with Burch and her public relations staff on Jan. 13, after correspondent Harry Smith became interested in the brand’s cultlike appeal to women, as well as its success.
This story first appeared in the October 23, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“Tory’s micro financing was part of the engine that said, ‘Let me pitch this,’” Smith told WWD. “I had no idea how much the business had grown.”
Smith said at the time, he hadn’t been aware of any bad blood between the Burches. But the program did address questions about the likeness of C. Wonder, Chris Burch’s recently launched retail chain, to his ex-wife’s brand, which he helped launch when they were married.
The show, which estimated Tory Burch’s empire at upward of $2 billion, was shot in five phases, starting with the designer’s fall ready-to-wear show at Lincoln Center on Feb. 14. Just two days before her show, New York Magazine had published a contentious profile that examined the relationship between the former husband-and-wife duo, and the similarities between their two retail ventures. Around that time, rumors that Tory was none too happy about C. Wonder had hit a fever pitch.
NBC next shot two segments in May, both at different Tory Burch stores, and another at the end of August, where they filmed Burch at her apartment, Madison Avenue store and at her office.
Joanna Coles, editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, was interviewed for the final segment, which was filmed at the Hearst Building on Sept. 14.
Even though there had been rumblings of a lawsuit and potential settlement talks, the entire piece had already wrapped by the time the case was filed in Delaware State court on Oct. 2. But instead of Tory filing suit, it was Chris Burch who took action over his thwarted attempts to sell his stake in her company.
“We went back to both of them for a comment,” Smith said, adding that he had hoped to develop that angle of the story further. “Neither of them wanted to touch it.”