Tory Burch, queen of understated elegance

Tory Burch has returned with a summer collection that combines an up-beat air of 1960s French Riviera-inspired glamour with a cornucopia of flora and hedgerow prints, which she has planted almost everywhere…

Tory Burch often garners inspiration from the arts. And while Adele Bloch-Bauer, the gilded angel of Gustav Klimt, haunted her last autumn collection, this season, Tory is heavily influenced by the glamorous Cote d’Azur epoch, yet has a single muse – Romy Schneider's character, Marianne, from the 1969 amorous Italian-French film La Piscine – the Swimming Pool, a drama filled with intrigue, jealousy, and murder.

Tory Burch Spring 2014 Look 36Indeed, when you rest your eyes on Tory’s tailored little linen suit with a jewelled collar, or a flowing floral-print silk dress, it could be suggestive of Marianne en route to a sun-drenched, and no doubt, sin-laden encounter with Alan Delon.

A very French Riviera kind of mood combines with the designer's own love for her gorgeous Southampton house (which is often described as the house ‘Jay Gatsby might have built to bedazzle Daisy Buchanan’) and gardens.

“It was all inspired by Romy Schneider in La Piscine, with a huge garden element,” Burch said. “We did prints inspired by my organic garden,” she added.

True to her word, Tory gives us botanical vibes in abundance, wishing we could while away the hours in the collection’s jewelled Queen Anne’s lace print organza dress and beaded appliqué burlap dresses.

Tory Burch Spring 2014 Collection Backstage Image Credit Jennifer Livingston sixHer perfectly polished and totally wearable collection features lots of lovely lace and florals; easy t-shirts are combined with shorts picked out with floral embroideries. Her colours abound in a botanical wonderland of greens and whites and coral and there is an occasional jewelled collar and crystal appliqué decorated in whimsical botanical prints, all suggestive of the blue light-reflecting waters of a Mediterranean pool.

Her textiles are screaming to be touched – sumptuous dupioni silk (a shimmery silk material), organza, crochet overlays, lattice cut-out leather, burlap, linen, crepe de chine and cotton poplin. The 1960s element can be seen in her gently flared Capri trousers, tunic ensembles, trapeze dresses, A-line tops and mini skirts.

This glamorous collection also mixes retro bikini sets with loose-fitting jumpsuits, perfect as travel essentials for a stylish get-away. Several pieces, including pastel-pink satin dresses and flower-print satin suits, some of which have colourful embellished rounded collars, are well-suited for a sunset champagne aperitif on a yacht.

Tory’s collection doesn’t seem to settle on one thing alone – lengths vacillate between micro and floor-grazing and rather than presenting a focused look, she offers Tory Burch lovers an entire wardrobe that is both easy, fresh and accessible.

Tory Burch Spring 2014 Accessory Image Credit Jennifer Livingston four

Accessories, which have made a massive contribution to her success, feature low-heeled shoes with metallic sling backs, generously embellished with chunky silver heels, and jewelled sandals, while her bags are either over-sized, inspired by real gardening totes or small belt bags that hang off hipster belts – a chic update on the fanny pack, again with a bloom print.

What Tory is offering us this summer is a look that’s feminine, chic, and fun – no thought required.

And what’s more, the collection is suggestive of a walk through a beautiful garden on a warm summer’s evening, or, better still, a dive into a cool Mediterranean pool with, none other than Alain Delon.

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