It's been quite the last few weeks for Tory Burch. Between a new flagship store in SoHo, an unforgettable NYFW show-slash-block party and a presence in the newly opened Costume Institute exhibit, the designer had plenty to dish at last night's The Atelier With Alina Cho conversation.
The ongoing fashion lecture series inside the Met returned in-person for the first time since the pandemic started. Cho and Burch touched on everything from her work relationship with her husband Pierre Yves-Roussel (he's her CEO) to how she navigated the company during COVID-19 to empowering women entrepreneurs through her Tory Burch Foundation.
There were some fun anecdotes about her early years, including her time spent growing up in a Pennsylvania farm and later working at Harper's Bazaar, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang and Loewe before starting her company in 2004. Her friendship with Saweetie got brought up as well, as did the time her dog Chicken went missing for three whole days. Read on below for excerpts from Burch's conversation with Cho.
On her coat being featured in In America: A Lexicon of Fashion Exhibit at the Met
I'm super honored and Andrew [Bolton] did such a phenomenal job. I was so excited and couldn't get over it. Our whole team came to see it and it was so brilliant. The exhibit is amazing and it's also amazing to celebrate American fashion.
On this year's Met Gala and her red carpet girl group.
It was so nice this year, but I think a lot smaller than usual. It was also the first time any of us had seen a lot of people in close to a year and a half. Mindy [Kaling] was amazing and Chloe [Fineman[ is so funny. They got ready and came and had some drinks at our place.
On shutting down a SoHo block and creating a farmer's market for her show at Fashion Week.
Our first store was on Elizabeth Street so it was definitely a homecoming, I missed being downtown. Seeing New York go through COVID was heartbreaking and so we wanted to support Lower Manhattan and work with small businesses, restaurants and bookshops for the block party.
On her most recent Spring 2022 collection being inspired by Claire McCardell.
She's really why sportswear exists today in the way that it does. She was one of the first people to put a zipper on a dress and pockets. She took a lot of elements from workwear and the way men dressed and created this freedom for women. That's why I really wanted to highlight her. Couture was inspired by her in Europe. We partnered with her estate in Maryland where her archives are to create a fellowship.
On reinventing herself and the brand being more personal.
For so long I was so protective about my family and privacy. But over the last four years I really let a lot more of myself into the company. I wanted people to see what was happening during COVID which was not a happy thing. At the beginning I lost someone very dear to me and we had 300 stores shut down. It was this intense time.
On getting her first job out of college with Zoran and moving to New York.
Zoran was an amazing designer and the ultimate minimalist. I wasn't allowed to wear makeup, he wanted to cut my hair off, I had to wear slippers at work. He would dress Isabella Rosellini and Lauren Hutton. I got to know him because my mother wore his clothing. I cold-called him on Thursday and he said I could start if I moved to New York on Monday. That's how it all started.
On her recent phone call with Saweetie.
She's an incredible artist. I was very honored that she included me and our flip flips in one of her songs. She's friends with my son Henry. I really admire her, she's just her own person and I love her irreverence and talent.
The Atelier with Alina Cho series is supported by the Doris & Stanley Tananbaum Foundation in memory of Doris Tananbaum.