Tory Burch’ RTW fall 2023 collection
In Tory Burch’s debut look, the pleated wool skirt was held together by a large safety pin, and the waistband was off by more than an inch or two. The following looks featured satin dresses that were worn backwards, belts that were barely fastening, pumps that had one broken heel (“a feat of engineering,” Burch said), and a handbag that appeared to have a loose double T.
Burch experimented with the idea of perfection. She stated, “I wanted to challenge and twist the idea of traditional femininity and beauty. Why? Women today, in my opinion, don’t want rules. Burch herself appears to be grumbling about them. She has been praising Claire McCardell since the pandemic, the American sportswear pioneer who invented the popover dress for women 75 years ago, and channelling the freedom of her own formative years in 1990s New York with stretchy mix-and-match layers. She was using similar instincts when she wore power mesh dresses with built-in padding to accentuate her hips and pre-crunched sleeves on her sweaters, which were practical wardrobe shortcuts free of traditional propriety.
Even though Tory Burch has become more daring (she handed over control of the business side of the brand to her husband Pierre Yves Roussel in 2019 so that she could focus on design), she has doubled down on practicality. It’s difficult to imagine those padded hips in a Tory Burch collection from five years ago. McCardell would be familiar with the collection’s foundational pieces, which include dapper sweaters and midi skirts, sharply cut blazers, button-down shirts, and straight-leg pants. A navy peacoat with a brown shearling collar and a wool tweed coat with what appeared to be more of that padding at the hips were two of the standout pieces of outerwear.
Burch suggested exposing the item that women typically conceal for the evening—their shapewear. This strategy was successful insofar as the power mesh and satin camisoles were based on mid-century designs, which effectively concealed the unmentionables. Of course, modern women wear a job bra and performance leggings whenever they leave the house, exposing their shapewear. However, they did demonstrate Burch’s idea that we are all completely flawed and that our vulnerability can also be a strength with their stitched floral appliqués and undone hooks and eyes.