Ahead of her Wednesday morning show on day six of New York Fashion Week, Tory Burch dropped a major hint as to the inspiration behind her Fall/Winter 2017 collection by posting a photo of her childhood home in Philadelphia on Instagram. The white double-story home with its solemn black shutters, white pillars, and colonial details speaks to Burch’s long history as one of society’s tonier members. That’s what people who are paying into her billion-dollar empire are trying to buy a slice of, at the very least.
Although Burch’s wealthy upbringing and social status are encoded in the luxurious staples she turns out every season, she was also quick to name-check Katharine Hepburn and the socialite character of Tracy Lord she played in the 1940s classic film The Philadelphia Story. “My she was yar!”
Like the thoroughbred class Burch and Lord respectively represent – albeit in different eras – the clothes on the runway reflected pedigree through and through. A gilded letter “B”, like the kind you might find engraved in a wrought-iron fence surrounding a fine sprawling acreage, was a symbol of the upper class found in the presentation and it came out first, embroidered onto a creamy, ivory coat. Elegant, WASP-y looks prevailed on buttoned-up silks splashed with painterly details and embroidered initials, longline fur coats, après–ski sweaters, and brocade gowns. For all their finery, the clothes still contained plenty of personality, just like Lord, who hilariously called “chaste” and “virginal” foul words and displayed dazzling wit when wooed by both Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart.