Fashion / Style

Princess Diana Gets Plenty of Love in One of Fashion Week’s Best Shows

Tory Burch Knows That Some Icons Just Endure

BY // 09.18.19

NEW YORK — Like a lot of women her age, Tory Burch remains fascinated by Princess Diana. Burch, now 53, was just a teenager when Diana married Prince Charles in “the wedding of the century” in 1981. When the princess died tragically in an automobile accident in Paris in 1997, Burch had not yet launched her wildly successful fashion brand. (That would come in 2004.)

But the princess and her well-documented sense of style have long been on Burch’s mind, so for her spring 2020 collection, she took her cue from Diana — if not literally, then emotionally, by offering her own fashion take on the ’80s.

“Clearly, (Diana) was a style icon, but I loved her fearlessness, her intelligence and, most of all, her humanity,” Burch noted in her program notes. “She left a legacy of giving back that embodies what I admire most, one that has been instilled in our Foundation and company since the beginning.”

Burch turned the sunny skylit Beaux-Arts Court at the Brooklyn Museum into an English country garden/high tea scene, with tall green bushes, tables laden with scones, cakes, quiches and other  delicacies, and an individually monogrammed handkerchief at each seat. (The handkerchiefs made an appearance on the runway decorating a Burch-designed white lace caftan.)

The setting accented the collection’s garden theme, with dresses in tea rose, “ditsy floral,” and bouquet-strewn scarf prints. These looks seemed more of a nod to the preppy Sloane Ranger style of the young Diana Spencer than the glamorous fashion plate she became in later years, although a white double-breasted tuxedo jacket with black detailing channels the princess’ more sophisticated look.

There are touches of ’80s nostalgia in ruched party dresses, colorful geometric print harem pants, polka dotted blouses and pumps, tie-neck blouses, and color-block dresses with poufy sleeves, but Burch didn’t overwork the theme and somehow managed to offer a fresh take on the Dynasty decade (thankfully, with no big shoulder pads).

Other pieces, such as trench coats accented with leather panels, tweed Chanel-like jackets, striped sweaters, and flowing palazzo pants offer a more timeless feel.

As at any Burch fashion show, accessories stood out, from oversized totes with the Tory Burch logo to top-handle handbags with hand-stitched handkerchief detail, and footwear ranging from ladylike polka-dotted slingbacks to casual suede-accented sneakers.

To accent the humanitarian theme that Diana championed throughout her life, model and humanitarian Natalia Vodianova opened the show, wearing a handkerchief -and-lace long maxi-skirt and camisole, and casual two-tone sneakers. In 2004, Vodianova created the Naked Heart Foundation to build accessible playgrounds in her native Russia.

Part of the Special Series:

PaperCity - On The Runway Spring 2020

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