Tory Burch’s eponymous label fuses American cool with a touch of bohemia, a style that has won the designer several awards. With the brand taking up residency on Regent Street, she tells us more about her path to become one of the most coveted designers of the day.
You have previously said you grew up as a tomboy, but your pieces are incredibly elegant and feminine. Has the “tomboy” aspect of your upbringing influenced any of your pattern designs or approach to fashion?
Growing up I always used to borrow my father and brothers’ shirts and I love menswear-inspired pieces to this day. its all about the mix – taking something traditionally masculine like classic sailor style pants, a blazer or a classic tennis shoe and making it feminine.
Why fashion over any other career?
I studied history at the University of Pennsylvania. I applied for many jobs during my senior year of college and ended up working for the designer Zoran. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it turned out to be a fantastic entree into the fashion industry. I was exposed to all the elements of a designers world, from designing a collection to managing press to learning about the business side. Fashion quickly became my passion.
Is there a piece of business advice that you’ve been given, that you’d pass on to others?
When I was starting out, there were many naysayers. My parents told me to think of negativity as noise and focus on what I was doing. It was great advice.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere – from works of art, music and nature to people, especially those who don’t know how inspiring they are. My greatest inspiration is my mum, Reva Robinson. She is extraordinary and has always lived her life by the motto “the glass is half full”.
You’re a mum to three boys. How difficult is it to balance family and a business?
Balancing work and family is my greatest challenge and something I work on everyday. It’s definitely a work in progress, but I set clear priorities; my family comes first and everything else comes after. Multitasking is key.
What wearable item is most sentimental to you and why?
A pendant necklace I made out of my father’s gold Zippo lighter, which he had covered with sentimental charms. It was the inspiration for a pendant we did for our Fall/Winter 17 collection.
The new store on Regent Street is an exciting move. How did this come about?
London is an important market. We launched our first boutique in the city in 2010 on Bond Street, and wanted to expand our footprint. We opened an accesssories only store at Westfield last year and were thrilled to have an opportunity to launch on Regent Street, which is a destination for our global customers.
When you are in Mayfair, where do you normally like to go?
Claridge’s – it’s a classic. I love La Petite Maison, and Taylor St. Baristas has the best coffee, but I also like to explore and try different places.
What is your proudest achievement to date?
Raising three happy, healthy boys.
What are your dreams for the brand, five years from now?
We are always pushing ourselves to innovate and evolve while remaining true to our heritage. We are excited about the future, but our focus is on the present and what we are doing right now; this includes our digital business and building Sport, which we see as a peer of our main line. And our foundation is always part of the equation – I hope to eventually introduce it internationally.
223 Regent St, Mayfair, London W1B 2QD