“She was feminine but spoke her mind.” Tory Burch referred to Katharine Hepburn as Tracy Lord in “The Philadelphia Story,” George Cukor’s witty send-up of that city’s late-Thirties high society.
Yet this was no ode to screen queen power glam. Rather, inspired by the indomitable Ms. Lord, Burch created as her fall muse a young woman whose surface haughtiness belies the regular gal beneath. The reference provided a touch point that allowed Burch to draw from her own tony Philadelphia upbringing decades later. “It’s about familiarity, things I know,” she said backstage. That led to an invariably charming lineup. And if it was wanting in surprise, it offered appealing fare for girls not bitten by the streetwear bug.
This young woman projects a cool reserve that has nothing to do with reticence. She loves the notice-me calm of a winter white coat, such as the show-opening twill topper marked with a big, swirling “TB” in gold cord embroidery. And she’s always game for a good graphic mix: Fair Isle sweater with plaid pants; large-scale plaid for a shearling over silk plaid shirt and skirt. She also loves her classics, incorporating a varsity cardigan, baseball jacket or checked blazer into her wardrobe with considerable dash.
And a sense of fun. Burch put a feisty, new-fangled spin on the time-honored notion of matchy-matchy dressing, the better to highlight a lineup of great-looking handbags. These ranged from the relatively calm combination of blue taffeta bow blouse with checked wool pants and matching bag to the most overstated iteration, a twill stadium coat lined in a big, bold plaid matched to shirt, pants and bag.
For evening, Burch flexed her decorative muscle with a lavish gold and royal blue lace. She offered, as well, a lovely alternative to classic sequins and beading: pearlized button embroidery on a black maxidress. Matching bag? Of course.