Tory Burch has built her explosive business on a foundation of stylish pragmatism. So much so that one doesn’t think of hers as a flamboyant aesthetic, but in a very real way it is, one replete with decorative effects and lavish color — we all know the lady loves orange. And she’s not afraid of a reference; one of her first items of clothing was a caftan tunic.
In a sense for spring, Burch went back to her roots, taking the caftan as the starting point for many looks, but savvily so, tempering the volume, giving it a waist and chopping it to various lengths. She said the collection was about finding beauty in unexpected places. Yet the show had an unmistakable island flavor, and what’s more alluring than the thoughts thus invoked: a relaxed attitude and the glories of nature?
Burch played to the mood with fabrics that were natural or just felt that way — linens, cottons, artisanal tweeds, unfussy guipure lace — using them for a diverse lineup. She has a gift for spinning the familiar with fresh resonance, and that’s what she did here, to delightful effect. At a distance, a fringed linen knit jacquard dress might have been crafted in artisanal mien from a beach towel; a shapely, bright red-and-blue guipure lace skirt and top spoke to more urbane circumstance. Shirting stripes went girly in a peasanty blouse over a flippy skirt and more boyish in a trim button-down with big, embroidered swirls tucked into a fringed wrap skirt.
The casual polish moved seamlessly into evening. Not one for the time-warp mermaid, Burch determined to make pieces that were distinctly evening but also relaxed and, most important, modern. To that end, she used an iridescent cellophanelike fabric and a lovely floral fil coupe organza for gowns that looked off-handed and special — a deft balance.