NEW YORK (AP) — Tory Burch blurred the lines between masculine and feminine at Sunday’s show, reinventing the traditional power suit with a floral print, juxtaposed with tall boots to prove that dressing pretty can still exude power and strength.
The designer said she wanted to challenge the norms of femininity and was inspired by artist Francesca DiMattio, who takes seemingly feminine arts like basket weaving or wedding dress beads and transforms them on strong, imposing sculptures. Models walked around the colorful sculptures throughout the show, which was held at Sotheby’s auction house in Manhattan.
“If our can clothes help women feel more powerful, feel more confident, they can define themselves as whatever they want,” Burch told The Associated Press during a backstage interview. “I think women need a voice and they need to use it and own their confidence.”
The collection balanced loose-fitting, sweet prairie dresses boasting puffed sleeves and high collars with military-style jackets and menswear suits with softer shapes accented with silk blouses or bow collars. Everything was paired with knee high boots, including evening dresses. Several boots, in olive, burgundy and mustard, were also etched with a floral print.
“I thought about what is the power suit and when you think about a woman going into a board meeting and wearing over-the-knee black leather boots over a very sort of relaxed men’s inspired suits,” Burch said.
Artist DiMattio also designed printed silks for the show that had an abstract floral vibe in springy yellows, blues and greens.
Actress Julianne Moore said she loves Burch’s collections because they are “classic and American and clean and wearable.”
Burch focuses on more than just the clothes, said actress Lucy Liu, who also attended.
“She supports young women entrepreneurs. She is dedicated, fashion forward, soul forward and she doesn’t just focus on what looks good, she also focuses on what feels good. I love that about her,” Liu said.
The show started with Alice Smith singing a live, bluesy version of the classic female empowerment song “You Don’t Own Me.”
The designer will host a summit in March around International Women’s Day that will tackle subjects like unconscious bias and ambition.
“I’m very proud that I’ve learned to embrace my ambition,” Burch said. “Women, whether it’s being a stay-at-home mom or being a CEO, it’s just however they want to live their lives.”
This story has been updated to correct that the show was Sunday, not Saturday.