After a season in Massachusetts’s Shaker country Tory Burch was back in Manhattan for fall, shooting her lookbook at The Odeon. There are reasons both circumstantial and metaphorical for this: The pandemic made outdoor locations essential last September and escape from New York was still top of mind. Flash forward six months: With a new US administration and new Covid vaccines rolling out Burch is very much looking forward to the city coming back to life again.
The iconic Tribeca restaurant was her neighborhood canteen when she first moved to town after college. “Through the doors was a movie set doubling as a restaurant,” as Vanity Fair once memorably put it, and Burch’s memories of the place are indelible. “When Zoran [the fashionable 1980s designer] hired me, he said I had to move in a week and I found an apartment on Greenwich Street. It was the only apartment building there—there was nothing else in Tribeca—so Odeon was literally our cafeteria,” she remembered over Zoom.
It’s not just the famous neon sign, the collection is New York-ier too, with its emphasis on outerwear, masculine tailoring, and side-buttoning dresses that take design cues from the great mid-century designer Claire McCardell, who is credited with the development of women’s sportswear. McCardell had a line, “casual never means careless,” that’s useful for thinking about his Burch collection, and for the challenges work-from-home types will face as we wean ourselves off of leggings and sweatpants and head back to the office.
Burch is very much a believer in suits, but she’s cut them in corduroy and Japanese denim for a welcome sense of ease. The sweatpants here were fake-outs; they’re actually trousers tucked into chunky socks and lug-sole clog mary janes. Instead, she cut sailor pants in soft moleskin and trimmed the upturned hems of cargos in ribbon embroidered with a new cursive monogram. To smooth our transition back into dresses Burch showed them full and loose in no-nonsense cotton poplin, with subtle tone-on-tone silk chiffon fringe for embellishment.
“I have to say, I feel this energy coming back,” Burch said of the city. She’s doing her part. Her long-in-the-works Mercer Street flagship is set to finally open this July.