Backstage, Tory Burch poses with several models in looks from her fall runway collection. (Courtesy of Tory Burch)
Tory Burch Napa leather Sgt Pepper jacket, porcelain floral–print silk-satin top and crepe de chine skirt. (Photo courtesy of Tory Burch)
Tory Burch plaid wool jacket and pant, otton poplin top with lace trim, knee-high boots. (Photo courtesy of Tory Burch)
Tory Burch embellished Blue Branches-print and Porcelain Floral-print silk twill dress. (Photo courtesy of Tory Burch)
Artist Francesca DiMattio, right, was the inspiration for the Tory Burch fall collection. DiMattio posed with actress/model Larsen Thompson before the show. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Tory Burch)
Tory Burch floral patterned cotton jacquard jacket and pant, with embroidered floral knee-high boot. (Photo courtesy of Tory Burch)
The Tory Burch "Eleanor" diamond quilt convertible handbag. (Photo courtesy of Tory Burch)
Tory Burch embroidered wool intarsia sweater, plisse georgette top, tile mosaic-print crepe de chine skirt. (Photo courtesy of Tory Burch)
Tory Burch porcelain floral–print shearling jacket, orrganza top, denim pant, embroidered floral boot. (Photo courtesy of Tory Burch)
Tory Burch lambswool sweater, stripe-pattern silk dupioni top and skirt. (Photo courtesy of Tory Burch)
Tory Burch Lee Radziwill embossed frame small saddlebag. (Photo by Tory Burch)
Tory Burch organza vest and top, crepe de chine skirt. (Photo courtesy of Tory Burch)
Tory Burch wool sweater, crepe pant. (Photo courtesy of Tory Burch)
"Cheer" stars Gabi Butler and Lexi Brumback were in the audience at the Tory Burch show. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Tory Burch)
Tory Burch thistle–print silk twill jacket, organza top, porcelain Thistle–print silk twill pant. (Photo courtesy of Tory Burch)
NEW YORK — Amid ceramicist Francesca DiMattio’s whimsical sculptures meant to convey feminine strength in a decorative way, Tory Burch unveiled her new fall collection for the powerful woman who slyly wants to show her subversive side.
The runway show at New York Fashion Week began as Grammy-nominated singer Alice Smith launched into a bluesy version of the 1963 classic song, “You Don’t Own Me,” arranged by Q-Tip, as models confidently weaved their way among 11 colorful sculptures by DiMattio in four rooms at Sotheby’s auction house on the Upper East Side.
A number of the looks in the collection are inspired by DiMattio, who collaborated with Burch to create a series of exaggerated prints in bright painterly florals with bursts of bright yellow and abstract blue-and-white porcelain Delft tiles. The clashing patterns are sometimes teamed together in paneled dresses separated by a slash of black, pleated skirts and patchwork coats.
Not the typical attire you’d expect a Fortune 500 executive to wear, but to Burch, that’s the point.
DiMattio’s creates sculptures from such items as wedding-dress beads and basket weaving, which are often dismissed as decorations, and transforms them into imposing structures, as Burch noted in her program, “blurring what’s man-woman, old-new, high-low.”
“DiMattio challenges the traditional norms of femininity. I remembered from studying art history how the work of Judith Leyster, one of the great Dutch Masters, was misattributed after her death simply because she was a woman. It’s a struggle that women artists have faced throughout history and still do to this day,” Burch recalled.
In emulating DiMattio, Burch imbues her frilly print dresses with a double-edged meaning — perhaps they’re not as sweet as they seem? — and toughens up one look with a black Sgt. Pepper leather jacket. She also reinterprets the traditional gray power suit in a softer shape with a lace-trimmed silk blouse while the pants legs are tucked into riding boots.
The woman in the power suit moved confidently, just as all of the models did, perhaps because it’s much easier to look like you’re in charge when you’re not tottering on sky high heels. All the styles in the collection, including evening gowns and business suits, were accessorized with a strong boot, ranging from mid-calf to over-the-knee versions etched in an embroidered floral print that matched some of the clothing.
Accessories are always a strong point of the Burch brand. In addition to the eye-catching boots, the 53-year-old designer introduced a new shoulder bag crafted from Italian leather, called the “Eleanor,” and several modern interpretations of the classic Lee Radziwill ‘70s saddlebag in various sizes, colors and combinations of materials.