Interview: Tory Burch

honolulu shops

Talkin' with Tory: From gracing the pages of Vogue to turning heads at New York Fashion Week, globe-strutting Tory Burch is landing everywhere, including Hawaii. Here for the opening of her new Royal Hawaiian Center boutique, the posh proponent of prints opens up about her paradisiacal adventures and the Parisian tunic that started it all.

An interior shot of the new Waikiki store.

Photos: courtesy arian camillen

Q: What was the first piece you ever designed?

TB: It was definitely the tunic. I had found a polyester sort of horrendous floral print tunic for six dollars at a Paris flea market. I loved the silhouette. It reminded me of what my grandma and mother wore; the easy fit for all different kinds of women and ages.

Q: Tory Burch fashions fit in well here, any idea as to why that is?

TB: There’s an ease to how women here dress. They embrace color and prints. There is also that sporty element, which part of our collection always is, feminine yet sporty and women here relate to that.

Q: What was the inspiration for your Spring 2012 collection?

Burch at the Modern Honolulu.

TB: It was the ’20s—the energy at that time and the optimism. I had seen the off-Broadway play Gatz, which is a modern take on The Great Gatsby. But also Deauville. Lower waists and longer lengths, long beaded necklaces and great knits. Graphics, looser shapes, and more ease and elegance.

Q: Mixing prints is a huge trend right now. Any tips on how to do it successfully?

TB: I think it’s good to experiment. I like taking unexpected prints that don’t necessarily have a color in common, mixing them up in unusual ways and seeing how it works.

Q: Any tricks to wearing this season’s it-color, Tangerine Tango?

TB: You have to go for it and pair it with another bold color, which I love, and which we did. But I also like to add some neutral beige, which I think is really chic and pares it down if you’re not so into vibrants.

Q: Can you tell us a little about the direction of your upcoming Fall ’12 collection?

TB: It’s sort of “prim girl” but has a bad boy front. I was thinking of the movie In the Mood for Love. Polished with an edge. Definitely more fitted silhouettes. The first delivery is neutrals, but then it brings in a lot of different colors. I did a trip to Taiwan and Korea, and there was a museum in Korea that had some incredible florals that were inspirations as well.

Q: When visiting Hawaii, you like to …

TB: We went to Duke’s Waikiki yesterday for fish tacos. We went to Morimoto Waikiki, which is incredible. We went hiking in Manoa Falls and today we’re going to Doris Duke’s Shangri La, which I’m really excited about. And tomorrow we’ll do paddle boarding. I love immersing our team in the local culture. Hopefully we’ll hit a luau at some point. It seems everyone is happy to live here and feels fortunate. The culture is about giving back. That’s how I look at our company too — what we can do for other people and how can we make it a platform. Tory Burch, Royal Hawaiian Center, 922-4190.

Looks from the Spring 2012 runway show.