With the Internet at our fingertips, it’s easy to research information on the people who interest us – you know you’ve killed time at work Googling your fave singers, models, actors, actresses and designers. But learning the cold hard facts like when they were born or where they went to school isn’t nearly as exciting as finding out what their favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning is. We got up close and personal with designer
Tory Burch and found out that perhaps her tomboyish youth inspired this season’s collection … along with all kinds of other interesting nuggets!
1. Can you tell us a bit about your journey to becoming a designer? Where did you start and how did you get where you are?
My first job in fashion was working for the designer Zoran as an assistant. I did everything from sales to PR. I did not always dream of being a designer, but I think the fashion industry was a natural fit for me. After over 15 years working in marketing and public relations for great designers like Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang and Narciso Rodriguez, it became clear that my passion was in the design process and I knew it was something I wanted to do. I work with an amazing team, which has made it all possible, and the whole thing happened very organically. I started the line because I had always loved fashion but was tired of paying designer prices. I didn’t feel there were many well-priced options out there for women who wanted chic and sophisticated clothing and accessories, but didn’t want to spend a designer price point.
2. Can you tell us a little known fact about Tory Burch – anything …
I was a total tomboy growing up. I spent my childhood playing sports with my three brothers on a farm in Valley Forge, PA. Even though my parents were very stylish, I was much more interested in riding horses, playing tennis and climbing trees than in fashion.
3. Who are your style icons?
My parents. It would have been impossible not to have developed an interest in fashion and style growing up with my mother and father. They have both always had an amazing and innate sense of style.
4. What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday morning?
Making chocolate chip pancakes with my three boys.
5. What’s your favorite indulgence?
6. What’s your favorite fragrance?
Vetiver by Guerlain.
7. If you could jump on a plane right now, where would you go?
8. What do you love most about the work that you do?
Designing is a great creative outlet. I have such a sense of accomplishment watching an idea for a bag or shoe going from a simple sketch all the way to the final product.
9. What’s the best piece of advice your mother ever gave you?
To never take anything for granted.
10. You’re such a style icon but have you ever made a fashion faux pas?
I’ve had many. Wearing leg warmers in the ‘80s is definitely one of them.
Learn more about Tory’s favourites and inspirations on the next page …
We run 20 questions by ELLE’s Creative Director Joe Zee … find out what he loves, can’t live without and what inspires him here
11. What album is currently in your CD player?
Jason Mraz’s album We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.
12. What’s the one thing you never leave home without?
13. What’s your favorite book?
One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez.
14. What are you reading right now?
Loving Frank: A Novel, by Nancy Horan.
15. How would you describe your style?
Classic with an eclectic edge.
16. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned throughout your career?
To keep everything in perspective. One of the biggest challenges I face personally is balancing being a mother and running a business. The only way it is possible to do both is by always putting my family first, and then letting the rest fall into place. At the end of the day, the most important thing is the health and happiness of my family and friends.
17. What song do you know all the lyrics to?
Just Like Heaven by The Cure.
18. What fashion trend do you wish would just disappear?
19. Where do you love to shop?
Bergdorf Goodman in New York, Maxfield in Los Angeles, Holt Renfrew in Canada and Anoushka in Paris.
20. What can we expect to see in your line for F/W 09? What are you most excited about?
The organic spirit of nature comes together with pop colors, military influences and a touch of eclectic French style for our Fall 09 collection. Unusual mixes of color with jeweled accents and leather create a look that encourages experimentation and individuality. The collection is the epitome of boy meets girl. A printed chiffon blouse paired with a leather skirt and military coat is worn with tomboy military boot and studded satchel for a look that is feminine with an edge. I also love the military style coat we did in bright cardinal red. We also focused a lot on layering different textures to create interest. Our butterfly printed dress paired with a knit vest and rope belt is a great example of this look. We did amazing camouflage printed jeans that are definitely one of my favourite pieces in the collection.
Designer DNA: Smythe
Get to know the ladies behind the fashion world’s favourite jacket.
We find out what inspires this hot Canadian designer.
We play 20 questions with Marika Brose, the designer behind the new, hip Canadian brand BROSE.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter