New York State has the highest concentration of wealthy individuals in the United States. In fact, 12 percent of top-income households live in New York, compared to seven percent of all American households. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that self-made billionaire Tory Burch would choose to live in a gorgeous, sprawling estate in Southampton, New York. She grew up in nearby Valley Forge, PA, with a wealthy father who once dated Grace Kelly.
After a comfortable childhood, she spent her formative years at the University of Pennsylvania as a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, and later married Christopher Burch who loaned her 2 million dollars to start her namesake brand. Ten years later, her company is worth 3.5 billion dollars. Burch’s story is fascinating in light of the current presidential race in America, where Republican front-runner Donald Trump is also of the billionaire-elite class who got his start with a “small” million-dollar loan from his father. Burch’s success represents the new American dream, where you start with a lot and end up with more money than Croesus.
As the divide between rich and poor grows globally, we are taught to expect that the 1 percent – of which Burch is very much a part – are out of touch. However, her ability to deliver pitch-perfect collections at mid-market prices that women everywhere want to wear renders that idea false. As Ella Fitzgerald once said, “It’s not about where you came from. It’s about where you’re going,” and Burch has been steadily climbing the ladder of capitalism since 2004 on the strength of a clear-eyed vision of effortlessly chic wardrobes that speak to the average woman.
Burch’s success represents the new American dream, where you start with a lot and end up with more money than Croesus.
Why are we talking about Burch’s background in light of her Fall/Winter 2016 collection? Well, there is undeniable New England preppiness to the clothes that belie her origins. It’s no wonder women turn out in droves to snap up her collections; she’s selling a look that says, “I’ve got money.” Even the most anti-establishment among us recognize the commercial appeal of that message.
Her Fall/Winter 2016 collection offers up subtle luxury in the form of felted-wool blanket cardigans and pea coats in a bright mix of patterns, sporty pullovers, argyle sweaters, and printed dresses worthy of a summer party in the Hamptons. Equestrian elements are found in a variety of riding jackets both color blocked and whip-stitched and in horse-head prints found on silky frocks. Additionally, there are floral dresses with black yolking details, polo shirts, glittering loungewear in pearlized lilac, pink gabardine wool suits, and après-ski looks featuring coordinated pink plaid separates trimmed with shearling. Burch’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection teaches the world how the other half lives, and it’s a lesson that millions are eager to learn.