Tory Burch RTW Spring 2021

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Tory Burch wants to support women in feeling powerful. That’s her professional raison d’être, realized with smart, pragmatic designs. There’s also a gentleness to her clothes, often displayed via a penchant for decoration. Lately, Burch has been thinking a good deal about less-is-more, and for spring, she deliberately tilted the balance in that direction.

“COVID-19 has given me a time of reflection,” Burch said during an appointment at her showroom. “I’ve thought a lot about restraint, and this concept of doing less and making it more meaningful. It’s in my clothes, but it’s also in my life.” She noted that since her husband, Pierre-Yves Roussel, assumed the role of chief executive officer, she’s had time to focus singularly on her creative process. For spring, she considered the Shaker maxim, “Beauty rests in utility.”

That message led her to shoot her brand video and look book at the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Mass., and crossed over into reminiscences of her childhood. “Spring is basically about memories,” Burch said, sighting touchpoints such as the “purposeful” classroom details of her Quaker school, the handbaskets in the mudroom of the family farm, visits to Amish country. It all coalesced into a collection that, while far from minimal, is tempered in its flourishes while still integrating ideas and techniques of homespun craft.

Tory Burch RTW Spring 2021

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A dress in white cotton shirting sets the mood, its large collar and black-piped, paneled tiers fusing graphic and gentle elements. That approach — unfussy with details — underscores the lineup, whether in the clean lines of unconstructed coats over matching, ankle-cinched pants or a navy trench made distinctive with a ribbed-knit bodice. Burch loves a languid tunic and shows it over pants and sensual evening sarongs in lame and sequins.

A craft-inspired basket-weave motif recurs throughout, as the real thing in shoes and bags and reimagined in a range of fabrics. One T-monogram pattern was inspired by an old quilt. Otherwise, surface ornamentation shows up in a macramé dress and embroideries with a prettiness that stops short of sweet. More overtly feisty: colorful mismatched plaids for a jacket and pants.

Burch cut everything with an ease and simplicity right for the moment. Yet these aren’t quiet clothes. That’s not to say they’re clothes for showing off, but given their surface activity, they command notice, projecting self-assurance and strength. Which is precisely the point. Burch said women often tell her her clothes imbue a sense of confidence, and that she considers it a privilege “to help in any way.” Just one example of the power of fashion.

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