For Fall 2019, designer Tory Burch took particular inspiration from Black Mountain College, which, founded in North Carolina in 1933, is known for its unconventional approach to education and for shaping the trajectory of modern art in America. “This season is a mix-match of revamped classics,” said Burch in her show notes. “Floral prints, graphic stripes,
menswear materials and romantic silhouettes. There’s a modern eccentricity to raw fringe, exaggerated ruffles, knife pleats, cut-glass jewelry, deconstructed bags and sharp boots.”
Indeed, the collection reflects an effortless modernity with uncomplicated, relaxed silhouettes. Polished pieces — tailored trousers, structured loden coats, and classic blazers — balance billowy shapes. There is a refined magpie approach to layering — sporty parkas draped over evening gowns, a striped slip under a gauzy shirtdress, etc.
Bold stripes, vivid paisleys, and feminine florals play off one another to unexpected effect, while a collage print blends archival photography and whimsical illustration.
Herringbones and checks are coolly classic while crochet patches convey an understated nostalgia. Fluid ruffles and a print-on-pleat technique bring movement and dimension. Sequins and square-shaped paillettes add a rich luster. Deliberately unfinished embroideries are raw and imperfect, nodding to technical artistry of Anni Albers, a central figure at Black Mountain.
The Daily caught up with Burch after her show to find out a little more about the collection and how she plans to unwind after it’s all over.
Why take Black Monutian College as your inspiration?
I was fascinated by the progressive nature in 1933 of rural North Carolina, where incredible talent came together and it wasn’t based on race, religion, or gender. They accepted everyone. We should take some lessons from that today. It really informed where modern art in America went. You had Rauschenberg, de Kooning, Anni Albers. It was such an interesting time and such an important time.
Who were some of the women you referenced in the collection?
Anni Albers was one of them, but for me it wasn’t about specific people, but about the spirt of them. I love where women came into their own and started wearing pants. To do that in North Carolina in 1933 and be embraced was wonderful.
How are you planning to celebrate after the show?
We’re doing our design lunch at Indochine.
What do you like to order there?
Everything! I love it there. I didn’t realize this but they open the restaurant for us! I always thought they had lunch and so I went there one time and asked about lunch and they said, “We never get up that early!” I go every season after every show.
It’s Jennifer Aniston’s 50th! Can you believe it?
I can’t! She’s beautiful and stunning. I like her spirit.
Check out the rest of the collection below.