Tory Burch: David Hicks in a design museum

It was all about David Hicks at Tory Burch, the legendary British interior decorator and taste master, who has frequently been an inspiration for the American designer. Even if, unfortunately, the muse certainly did not always sing in tune in this collection which was just a tad too bland and even banal for a designer who has built her career, and brand, on injecting oomph and pep into classics.


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Tory Burch - Spring-Summer 2018 - Womenswear - New York - © PixelFormula

Fittingly, the show was staged inside the garden of Cooper Hewett, a beautiful redbrick mansion that boasts the only lawn on Fifth Avenue, Manhattan’s most prestigious thoroughfare.
 
One could not fault the staging – the audience perched on benches on artificial grass, as the models marched around a formal French-style garden, courtesy of landscape genius Miranda Brooks. And the casting, featuring the latest hot model, McKenna from Wisconsin, was sage. Nor indeed the choice of prints – which referenced Hicks’ famous off-beat Sixties graphics, capturing all their optimism and wit. Yet, the net result, was far too quiet. One grew tired of the never-ending series of ankle sweeping skirts, the posh hippie metallic bangles and the faux mini cowboy boots with elastic sides.  Burch did have plenty of commercial pieces – like flowing track pants and cricket sweaters. Showing that her second posh athleisure Tory Sport collection has clearly been having a positive impact on her designs and bottom line. Perhaps one should blame her decision to change stylists – bringing in French dandy Benjamin Bruno, to what positive effect, one could not really comprehend.
 
“We’re friends with David’s son Ashley Hicks and he opened up all the archives to us, which was very generous. All the scrapbooks and spoke to our team. So, we wanted to do a homage but not too literal,” said Burch, looking rather divine in a silk printed pantsuit.
 
Burch remains a remarkable success story – boasting over 150 stores and an empire whose products retail in some 3,000 points of sale. She is the latest American designer to have built a truly global brand, with hard work, respect for women and America’s greatest export – its optimism - at the heart of her deserved success. But one cannot win them all, as today’s bland excursion in a sunny September garden showed. Quite frankly, this was the weakest Burch collection in a decade.

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