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Fashion / Style File

Major Fashion Designer Returns to College in the Most Ingenious Way

Tory Burch Gets Schooled at New York Fashion Week

BY // 03.01.19
photography Tory Burch

NEW YORK — Although fall is nearly a half-year away, Tory Burch is already getting ready for back-to-school.

The popular designer said she chose Black Mountain College, an experimental North Carolina liberal arts institution “known for its unconventional approach to education and for shaping the trajectory of modern art in America” as the inspiration for her autumn collection, which was unveiled at New York Fashion Week.

Open for only a little over two decades (from 1933 to 57), the school attracted a host of notable artists and great thinkers, including Robert Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Cy Twombly, Arthur Penn, Buckminster Fuller and Francine du Plessix Gray. Though it’s closed now, the college’s legacy has influenced Burch, who touts its maverick spirit and progressive attitude.

It’s not a traditional source of fashion inspiration, but it lends an arty feel to the collection, with looks ranging from crisp color-blocked wool coats and knife-pleated dresses in a geometric pattern to dozens of styles in colorful “Mountain Paisley” and frilly blossom prints — some with exaggerated ruffled collars and sleeves.

Other eclectic looks include woolen cardigans trimmed in fringe or unfinished embroidery, Chanel-like tweed jackets with gold buttons, a flowing floral print caftan with sparkly square-shaped paillettes at the hemline, and a striped pantsuit with the TB logo embroidered on the jacket.

Burch also went a little coat crazy, with dozens of cool outerwear options, including ankle-skimming military coats with brushed-silver toggle hardware, reversible shearling coats, a plush puffer jacket with paisley lining, and a plaid trench with tan leather buttons.

And don’t forget the accessories, which are always a Burch standout. She created a number of new takes on the Lee Radziwill satchel, including a larger deconstructed version that can hold a laptop and a leopard-print style. Burch had created the handbag in honor of her good friend, the former princess and younger sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, last fall. Radizwill passed away this month; Burch was among the mourners at the small private ceremony in New York.

Burch also showcased chandelier earrings made of cut glass jewelry, and offered new takes on traditional footwear, with a metallic Mary Jane pump featuring a wooden heel, knee-high patchwork boots, and exaggerated platform sneakers — proof that some remnants of ’90s fashion just won’t go away.

Part of the Special Series:

PaperCity - On the Runway Fall 2019

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