Not many moms have a shoe named after them, let alone one that has skyrocketed to iconic-item status. Reva Robinson does. She provides endless inspiration for her designing daughter, Tory Burch, and has ever since Burch designed her first practical-chic caftan top. On Friday morning, in the garden of the Cooper Hewitt Museum, freshly set with lemon trees and peaceful despite the typical morning fray on Fifth Avenue, Burch again celebrated the casual style of her mother, and father Buddy, too, that so impressed her as a child growing up.
“My parents…were adventurers,” Burch wrote in her program, noting that every summer they took a streamer-ship cruise “from Italy and Greece to Morocco and Spain.” If that thought alone isn’t enough to trigger wistful thoughts of the summer just past (even if yours wasn’t so great), Burch’s clothes certainly reminded of the joys of vacation life.
Burch was taken by her parents’ “wanderlust.” Back when fashion had rules, one might have said that her lineup swung more resort than spring. But who cares? She addressed virtually every warm-weather wardrobe need with panache: tailored shirtdresses, safari shirt-and-trouser combos, trenchcoats; languid tent dresses; sporty knits. Boho dresses shed their sweetness in cotton stripes or shirting with multi-bright line embroidery. Tunics and caftans came in myriad versions including linen gauze, cotton jacquards and poplins, the latter inset with lace and brightly colored strips. Sturdy lace and bright banding gave pep to pristine white poplins. The palette was mostly neutral, but shot with the ultra-bright colors and prints Burch loves. And if the show opener, a demure white midi with crisscross collar band over pleated skirt, looked more Von Trapp than Venice, it was plenty pretty.
Overall, the clothes were smart. Smart as is good-looking with an approachable je ne sais quoi, and smart as in Tory is one smart cookie. She works within clearly defined parameters, doesn’t move the needle beyond appealing approachability and yet manages to discern new translations of the familiar language. For inspiring that clever approach, here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson.