Tory Burch Moves Into Copley Place
BY LAURIE BROOKINS
Few designers own the term “overnight success,” but in Tory Burch’s case, it might truly apply. In February Burch celebrates the ninth anniversary of launching her eponymous label, and she doesn’t dispute the idea that life since 2004 has proceeded at a breakneck pace. “We started out with a five-year plan, and at a certain point we had to throw it out the window because we were growing so quickly,” she says.
Just how big is Burch today? In less than a decade she’s grown into a global lifestyle brand available in more than 1,000 department and specialty stores, while mid-November saw the opening of her 80th freestanding boutique, which also happens to be her first in Boston. The 1,600-square-foot store is located at Copley Place, a spot Burch says she’s long desired. “Its history is something we really admire,” she says of the storied retail destination. “Our stores also tend to be very residential in feeling, and that fits really well with Copley.” Indeed, Burch’s in-house retail design team has crafted a cozy space featuring white-washed oak floors and raffia walls, a fitting backdrop for her often-vibrant prints. “The store is a bit taken from our Madison Avenue flagship VIP room, which was different from what we’d done in the past, and a little inspired by Madeleine Castaing,” Burch explains, name-checking the French interior designer renowned for her use of color. “That’s why the furnishings are a mix of turquoise, seafoam green, and moss green and feel a bit more whimsical than things we’ve done in the past. I think you always have to keep in mind who you are, but you also have to move things forward to keep them exciting. We do still have our brightorange doors, though.”
Behind those signature lacquer doors, Burch will open the Copley Place boutique with her Resort 2013 Collection, which features a palette of sea blues and greens mixed with luxe mosaic prints, all of which take their cue from an Amalfi Coast sojourn two summers ago. “I was really inspired by the colors and the tiles and a sun-drenched feel; that was the beginning of it for me,” Burch explains. “Overall I wanted the collection to feel elegant but low-key. You might wear a shirt in washed-out stripes with a navy skirt that’s beaded but doesn’t feel too over-the-top.”
Such pieces should feel right at home in Boston, Burch notes, adding that she feels an affinity for the city and its style. “Boston reminds me of Philadelphia, which is where I grew up,” she says. “You find a lot of people interested in fashion, and there’s also a college-town aspect with a younger customer who’s attracted to our brand. We offer a classic shape with a bit of detail, and hopefully Bostonians respond to that.” Key to that equation, of course, are Burch’s accessories—those tantalizing bags and shoes upon which the brand was built—such as The Reva ballet flat, which was among her earlier successes and has never left the collection. “Naming it after my mother was our good-luck charm,” she says with a laugh. Standout accessories from Resort 2013 include slouchy totes in woven straw, accented with a splash of paillettes and finished with oversize-chain handles crafted of tortoise resin, while shoes range from wide-strap sandals in metallic-gold leather to chic little flats in the collection’s washed-seaside tones.
Also key to the Copley Place opening will be Burch’s Holiday 2012 Collection, a mixed-bag grouping of party-friendly ready-to-wear, accessories, and gift items that she ranks among the collection’s most fun elements. “It’s a little bit of everything,” she explains. “I’m looking right now at a wool dress with a black-beaded bottom that’s a perfect example of what I like to do this time of year, because you can put a jacket with it and wear it during the day, and then it also works for the office cocktail party later that night.” Gift items range from jewelry and minaudières to iPad and computer cases, though Burch seems particularly enamored with a cozy blanket that was a collaboration with Pendleton, the Oregon company known for its woolens, as well as a selection of stylish playing cards and a backgammon set. “I’m always thinking about what I might need if the kids and I were stuck inside in a snowstorm,” says the mother of three boys.
She talks of other projects set for 2013, from store openings in Brazil and Dubai to the launch of a fragrance and beauty collection, a partnership with Estée Lauder that’s been five years in the making. But ultimately it’s that mix of practical-meets-glamorous, the classic sensibility tinged with just the right touch of dazzle, which may be the reason Burch has enjoyed such widespread appeal from almost the very start. Unsurprisingly, her take on it is nothing if not pragmatic. “At the end of the day I hope we’re fulfilling a need, to reach women and give them something that simply makes them feel happy and confident,” Burch says. “From the first day, that’s been our goal. I look at our growth as pretty fascinating, also because so many of the people I started this with in my apartment are still here. It’s been a fantastic journey.” One to be continued in Back Bay.
photography courtesy of tory burch (burch); by michael blanchard (bcrf)