Tory Burch Makes a 20th Anniversary Promise: “I’ll Keep Putting Myself Out There Taking Risks”

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Twenty years ago today, Tory Burch opened a store on New York’s Elizabeth Street and launched her business. From the start, her lifestyle concept was a hit. The shop was busy on day-one, even if there were no doors to ward off the February chill. In a couple short years, she had fans in the form of Oprah and Prince—the former invited her to Chicago to appear on her talk show, and the latter tracked her down in a Beverly Hills Hotel bath to talk tour outfits (more on that later!)—and women across America were slipping into her colorful Reva flats.

It took longer to woo the fashion crowd, which tends to pay too short shrift to brands it doesn’t consider “high luxury.” Graduating to the runway in 2011 started to shift perceptions. Burch herself marks a change circa 2015 when the launch of Tory Sport made her realize she “wanted to work on design in a different way,” and explore fabrics and techniques with more ambition. As a longtime Tory watcher, I’d say the famed “Toryssaince” that has gotten so much attention online really started with her spring 2018 show, staged in the garden of the Cooper Hewitt way uptown. That collection introduced a more streamlined, less demure aesthetic that has evolved into the cool, even futuristic, minimalism of recent seasons.

As for the fall 2024 show scheduled for next Monday, Burch doesn’t want to give too much away, saying it will be an evolution, not a revolution. “I don’t want to recreate the wheel every season, I just want to keep pushing things, whether it’s from a technique or proportion perspective or with materials.” Pressed to reflect on the brand’s 20th anniversary, she said, “I’ve never felt more at ease and having the freedom to explore my creativity than right now… I think I’m more apt to explore my vulnerability now than I ever was before—vulnerability from a design perspective and putting myself out there taking risks.” Here, Burch reflects on the people she works with and on the milestones she’s passed to arrive where she is today.

The store on Elizabeth Street was originally known as Tory by TRB, but people just called it Tory Burch, and the jeweler Kenneth Jay Lane convinced Tory to change it.

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Jose Reber

Jose Reber is a professional writer based in Wisconsin. He guides editorial teams consisting of writers across the US to help them become more skilled and diverse writers. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

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