Tory Burch F/W 2016
Tory Burch F/W 2016

I’ve been a little slow in deciding whether to write a review this morning in hopes that I might see something that was genuinely exciting. This is a rather quiet day, though, and while the schedule has been as full as every other day, I’ve yawned much more than I’ve smiled. There’s always the chance I’m being overly harsh, but so much of today’s fashion has been what we typically expect from each designer, both good and bad, and not a lot that’s terribly inspiring. Of this morning’s shows, Tory Burch, at least, had pieces that were colorful and wearable.

There are two approaches to riding horses. One is the Western style, with which I am more familiar, where one’s boots have a pointed toe, the saddles have horns on which one hangs ropes, and the general  purpose for being up there is getting work done. The other is English style, with its tall, shiny boots and European equestrian history. Those of the English style take serious matters such as posture and making sure one’s jodhpurs are clean. English riders often consider Western riders sloppy and unkempt. Western riders consider English riders … uhm, well, I shouldn’t use that kind of language here.

Tory Burch was raised with the English style and this season calls back to a refined equestrian look of the 1970s for her fall/winter collection. If you’re thinking the over-worn “preppy” look that so many of us despised, though, with its pastel polo shirts and khaki pants, you’re going the wrong direction.This is a collection of riding attire and bright stable colors with plenty of diamond shapes and brushed cotton and leather. Yes, there are soft collars and heavily tapered slacks, but there are also some very sharp riding jackets and, most importantly, excellent use of color.

So much of what I’ve seen the past two days is depressingly dark and non-descript, so I really appreciated seeing the bright primary colors and then their deeper emerald equivalents through this collection. The silhouettes are refined, as one might expect, but at least the dresses are a little more open and give one a bit of room to play. Where matters get a little more tentative are with some of the patterns, those prints that pull out those uniquely 70s tones and styles that still feel very dated and less than attractive. There’s one pastel plaid sports suit that very quickly reminded me of what I don’t like about 70s fashion.

What works really well, on the other hand, are the large galloping horse prints that feel somewhat Greek in how they stand out, utilizing all the strength and nobility of equestrian pursuits. The frequent use of colorful scarves is a nice touch as well, though I might be concerned how many women might know how to tie them appropriately (cue the YouTube tutorials).

If there is a weakness in this collection, it is the juxtaposition of the social class this collection represents against the angry angst of the current socio-political climate. These are lovely, well-refined clothes that some might feel are symbolic of a more privileged class. In a climate where the “1%” are popularly despised, this fall, as we’re going into the general election, may not be the best timing for this collection to hit store shelves. Yes, it should sell well among those who identify with that lifestyle, but I’m not sure that’s enough to actually bring any growth to the label.

This is a very bright and delightfully colorful collection, though, and this season definitely needs that burst of excitement. Even if one isn’t all that equestrian in one’s activities, I’m told jodhpurs are quite comfortable and who doesn’t need a pair of suede boots? The collection is well worth a moment’s consideration.

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