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Professionalism with a Pout ~ Tory Burch Proves that Subtle is Sexy at NYFW 2023

By Erin Moonyeen Haley

Designer Yves Saint Laurent once said: "I love black because it affirms, designs, and styles. A woman in a black dress is a pencil stroke.” The models in Tory Burch’s ready-to-wear 2023 collection for New York Fashion Week took that adage and strutted with it. Whether in black or wearing color, the proverbial 'pencil strokes' made for clean lines that compelled the eye with gradations of urbanity and affirmations of power.

The show had an operatic beginning that established the theme that nothing can obscure the classics. Lights were low and the curtain rose slowly, almost epically, above a stage outfitted with a grecian balustrade. The only thing missing was a pair of teenage star-crossed lovers. (The soundtrack maintained the romanticism, seemingly harkening back to Sarah Brightman's La Luna days.)

Sometimes seen as the matriarch of a 'preppy American label', Burch turned the prep into the sophisticate with her collection. In past interviews with Grazia, she declared her intentions to use clothes to help women "feel empowered, sexy and romantic—also, I definitely think, unencumbered.” With that in mind, she delivered looks with coquettish fishnet stockings and androgynous button-up shirts, recognizing that the feminine comes in all flavors and forms. Burch excelled at her self-designed rubric, working with cotton, satins and silks to create sheath dresses and relaxed chinos; white coats with overlays of fur and peaches-and-cream corsets that gave just enough hint of Madonna's Vogue to remind us that, while her looks are dignified, they are in no way restrained.

With slinky straps and a satin bodice, the flesh-toned and raven-black corsets had stirrings of a heroine in a Jean-Honoré Fragonard painting. The only thing missing was the garden and the swing.

Amid the neutrals and the blacks, Burch gave her audience pops of color thanks to sour apple green satin dresses and pants.

The 'little black dress' became something else entirely with an off-shoulder dress paired with siren-red heels look and a high neck number with knee-high boots.

Houndstooth paired with fishnet stockings helped honor the complexities of femininity.

Revlon red accented the base colors, keeping the passion alive.

The simplicity trend continued, with resplendent fabrics hugging the body, but not in an overt form-fitting way, adhering to Burch's mantra of empowering women with looks that could be apropos for any venue or occasion.

~ Images courtesy of Vogue Runway


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