NEW YORK — Having settled a long-running financial dispute with her ex-husband, Tory Burch is poised to create a lifestyle empire. She is introducing her first beauty and makeup collection with Estée Lauder at the end of this month, planning a big overseas expansion (where she already has 90 stores worldwide) and is rumored to be taking her company public, which would make her a billionaire.
And the ultimate for an American designer recently happened to her: After First lady Michelle Obama wore a Burch-designed aqua blue tie-dye dress to an event last week, it sold out on Burch's website and on Shopbop.
Under a less accomplished designer, it might all look too girly-girly. But Burch has a knack for creating a bit of an edge under all that sweetness.
So it's no wonder that Burch's runway show, at the ungodly fashion hour of 9 a.m., has become one of fashion week's main events, this time drawing sleepy-eyed celebs Rashida Jones, Emmy Rossum and Camila Alves McConaughey and all the honchos of the major fashion magazines (Anna, Glenda, Stefano, Joanna, etc.).
Burch's spring 2014 collection is especially pleasing on the eye, with garden-themed looks featuring delicate botanical prints, lattice-work leather jackets and lace skirts, and hedgeprint swimsuits and blouses. Under a less accomplished designer, it might all look too girly-girly. But Burch has a knack for creating a bit of an edge under all that sweetness.
Burch said she was inspired by the French actress Romy Schineder's character in the 1969 French film La Piscine (The Swimming Pool), a drama of sexual jealously, possessiveness and murder. She even painted the runway a wavy blue to look like a pool and featured models with touseled '60s-style bouffants. The look says easy glamour, but also watch your step.
All that psychoanalysis might be a little too much for Burch fans, who just love her simple-to-wear frocks. They can appreciate her mix-and-match tops, pants, skirts and outerwear, along with jeweled sandals, lattice-work totes and floral purses belted at the waist.