Tory Burch embraces flats and flowy form in new collection

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Fashion from the Tory Burch collection is modeled during Fashion Week on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

NEW YORK – With a spectacular Hudson River sunset as a backdrop, models wearing dusty colors streamed onto a cement runway, as Tory Burch’s vision for spring and summer 2023 came to life during New York Fashion Week.

The open-air space at Pier 76 was unusually large for a fashion show, with two rows of seats lined up on either side of the runway and a giant Alexander Calder-inspired mobile dangling in the center, catching the light. Burch said the venue celebrates the beauty of New York.

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“To have a space like this with the sunset and just have something that was vast for the collection, I really wanted it to be focused, but have the space just sort of enhance it in a subtle way,” Burch told the Associated Press in an interview after the show.

Model and actor Emily Ratajkowski was one of the first to strut the catwalk in a brown sheer top and jersey bandeau wrapped tightly around the top of a bright orange silk chiffon skirt that blew in the wind off the water.

One constant theme throughout the collection was sheerness: cotton and viscose tops with lace bras peeking through, and whole outfits covered with organza and silk that muted colors underneath. One T-shirt and long skirt was covered completely like a bubble with what Burch calls a “tech taffeta overlay.”

“I wanted it to be more architectural and richer than just a minimalist piece. I wanted women … to feel unencumbered, so I really was thinking about the concept of the shape and form of their bodies, where they can move and be as empowered as they are feeling today,” Burch said.

The overall color palette was earth colors of brown, gray, olive, mustard and cream, but Burch often added a contrasting color like a bright white or yellow handbag, a shiny silver slingback flat or pea green mule.

There were many spring coats in the collection. A silk taffeta trench billowed easily in the river breeze, creating a lighter, freer look, and another — in stretch brown satin — took the classic staple up a glamour notch.

A shiny gold mid-length trench coat made of foiled leather was a standout look, and surely would brighten a rainy day. A calf-length silk shantung skirt with mirrored embroidery sparkled in the evening light.

The Burch brand — known for shoes and handbags — showed structured and boxy purses with double handles or short straps this season. The shoes were primarily very flat flats, another nod to comfort but with unique shapes that Burch said look “super interesting.”

“I really thought about the architecture behind those flats. There was a mule that had a built-in toe ring, but it’s the most comfortable shape and it’s also incredibly flattering.”

Celebrities in the front row included actors Sydney Sweeney, Jenna Coleman and Lana Condor, who called the collection “beautiful” and said she loved the show. “The flats are amazing. I saw a really, really cool one where it’s like the arch wasn’t there. It was just like the sole and then the heel and no arch.”

“Saturday Night Live” castmember Chloe Fineman said she’s a huge fan of Burch and is excited about the new collection. “I often said fashion before death,” Fineman joked. She was ogling the clothes but perhaps also taking notes. “This is my great love,” Fineman said. “My dream is to do a capsule collection with my sister.”

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