NEW YORK — Oddest moment of fashion week (thus far): No, it wasn't shooting a selfie with Joan Rivers at the Elie Tahari show, although posing with the Fashion Police star certainly was a surreal experience. My head-scratching moment came earlier in the day when Tory Burch revealed that her parents and grandparents collected suits of armor.
"I like taking a little bit here and a bit there from other cultures and weaving it in a more modern way," says Neiman Marcus' Ken Downing.
Outside of Game of Thrones fans, I can't think of anyone who might be so interested in medieval lore. But Burch put her family obsession to good use, incorporating armor-like touches in subtle ways along with the rich colors from brocade tapestries to create a fall collection that pushes the boundaries of the Tory Burch brand but in a way that her fans will still love.
"Tory took a little Elizabethan tour to olde England with great success," said Neiman Marcus senior vice president and fashion director Ken Downing.
"I'm loving this whole global wanderer that is everywhere on the runway. We've seen Japan, China, Nepal, a touch of Guatemala and now we've gone to olde England. It's nice to to see a little bit of multi-cultural referencing without looking like national costume head-to-toe. I like taking a little bit here and a bit there from other cultures and weaving it in a more modern way."
Burch mixes soft dragon prints that look like an illustration from a medieval novel with a shiny, hip-hanging metallic gold belt. A silver pleated lame skirt, gold-foiled sweaters, jackets embellished with crystal crosses, metal ring skirts and sweaters, a black leather coat with vertical pleats, and thick navy turtlenecks that combine satin, leather and wool with sequined sparkle compose a modern day suit of armor made for the busy life women lead today instead of a field of battle.
Colorful tapestries serve as the basis for brocade skirts, turtlenecks and handbags. Known for her accessories, Burch also features gold foil-patterned clutches and introduces her version of Ghillies — a Scottish shoe with laces and a thicker heel for more comfort.
"That injection of metallic she was able to infuse in her knits and also in the Maltese crystal crosses in embellished navy cardigans and jackets really gave the collection a fun flourish and gives the customer a reason to shop. We love embellishments that add sparkle and shine," Downing said.
"And I like the unexpected tapestries in sweaters and shoulder bags. It's an adorable collection."