Tory Burch yellow wool coat, crepe de chine dress with chiffon cuff (Photo by Tory Burch)
Tory Burch chunky sneakers recall '90s fashion. (Photo by Tory Burch)
Tory Burch tweed and ponte knit jacket, mountain paisley print chiffon top and crepe de shine skirt (Photo by Tory Burch)
Tory Burch cut glass chandelier earrings are influenced by the designer's interest in Black Mountain College. (Photo by Tory Burch)
Tory Burch plaid cotton trench coat with leather buttons, cotton shirt, checked viscose cropped pant (Photo by Tory Burch)
The updated Tory Burch Mary Jane pump sparkles in metallics. (Photo by Tory Burch)
Tory Burch Black Mountain floral print-blocked silk caftan with paillette detail (Photo by Tory Burch)
Tory Burch satin down puffer coat with paisley lining, Mountain Paisley print-block chiffon dress, cut-glass earrings (Photo by Tory Burch)
Tory Burch striped wool blazer with TB logo and wool pant, geo-print satin top (Photo by Tory Burch)
Tory Burch color-blocked jersey dress (Photo by Tory Burch)
Tory Burch color-blocked handbag with metal detail is influenced by the designer's interest in Black Mountain College. (Photo by Tory Burch)
Tory Burch blue sequined chiffon dress, orange crepe de chine top (Photo by Tory Burch)
Tory Burch mountain paisley-print devore pleated chiffon top and skirt. (Photo by Tory Burch)
Tory Burch merino wool and cotton poncho, stripe-print crepe de chine skirt (Photo by 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.