What Shall I Wear? Tory Burch SS23

Tory Burch‘s renaissance keeps on giving. Spring-summer 2023 collection is yet another gorgeous line-up coming from this New York-based, well-established designer. For context, Burch wrote a new forward to a just-released re-edition of a book by Claire McCardell, the mid-century designer known for easy-on, easy-off dresses when high fashion was still a made-to-measure business. A year ago Burch was talking up McCardell’s designs and the ways in which they served to “unencumber” women. Something clicked, and resulted in an on-going creative dialogue between two American, female designers. “I started thinking about when I first moved to New York in the ’90s,” said Burch backstage of her fashion show. “Even then, women didn’t want to be restricted, so we spent a lot of time developing fabrics that had all kinds of stretch and pieces that you could wear in different ways. I wanted it to be really focused.” The models skimmed in flat slingbacks or mules – “if the shoe hurts, give it away,” is a McCardellism. They wore a modular wardrobe of fine gauge knits, double layer skirts (the fitted upper part covering a sheer lower part that hit the mid-calf), or tube skirts over capri-length leggings. These looks didn’t obscure or deny a woman’s form, but nor did they enhance it necessarily. The best way to put it is that they were true to a woman’s body, and they exuded a certain confidence because of it. Tossed over the top could be a boxy man’s blazer, or a gold leather jacket, or a tech-y fabric raincoat. The effect was streamlined and simple, but not quite minimal. There was too much color and, when the evening looks emerged at the end, too much ornament to qualify for that. Burch’s more formal outfits combined a tunic-length hourglass-shaped sleeveless top in suiting fabric with a soft lace-edged slip, or layered a sheer panel over a slip dress that could be cut from sari fabric or embellished with mirror paillettes. McCardell’s reissued book is called “What Shall I Wear? The What, Where, When, and How Much of Fashion“. She didn’t have much to say about denim, but we will say this, Burch’s jeans – high-waisted and faded, with the hint of a crease down the front – are the best of the season so far.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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