Tory Burch comes across as the sweetest, gentlest soul on Seventh Avenue, but her collections always seem to end up hinting at violent passion. Last season, it was armored medievalism. For Spring, Burch’s muse was Françoise Gilot. “Because she was a strong woman and a great artist,” she said a little testily when asked why. “And she was the only woman who left Picasso.”
Gilot may have left Picasso, but he towered over the rest of her life as heavily as his presence hung here. A tunic top and matching long skirt were cut from a toile de Jouy pattern that depicted the cypress-surrounded villa in Vallauris where the couple lived for years. It was in Vallauris that Picasso developed the fascination with ceramics that would yield his most prodigious body of work. Burch showed pieces in engineered broderie anglaise that duplicated ceramic patterns.
But it was probably Robert Capa’s iconic image of Gilot and Picasso on the beach at Golfe-Juan in 1948 that really shaped the essence of Burch’s new collection. “A play between raw and refined” is the way she herself defined it. The simple sensuality of Capa’s photograph was translated into a silk georgette smock dress, casually tied to one side, or a full-length canvas tank dress, fringed down a side seam. The rawness of the collection was its charm. The refinement, when it came in the form of a metallic jacquarded Grecian key motif, less so.