There must’ve been a lot of jockeying for first dibs on the American Museum of Natural History’s photogenic new Gilder Center. Its swooping ceilings and porthole skylights are built like a canyon, but if there’s something geologic about it, it also feels like outer space. It’s slightly reminiscent, in that way, of Pierre Cardin’s Palais Bulles, which is built into a cliff in the south of France.
Tory Burch scored the prize and held her show in the museum’s new wing tonight. Maybe it was the center’s transportive atmosphere, but I saw space age aspects to her new collection. They were there in the crinoline rings that formed the bouncy hems of viscose knit dresses, in the uniform-like sensibility of the collarless bonded jersey jackets she paired with super-short minis, and in the ergonomically designed molded plastic handbags. Burch herself said nothing about the space age. Rather, she said she’d been thinking about what “effortless” means now. She liked the idea of clothing that “frees up your mind.”
Burch’s study of Claire McCardell launched her down this path two years ago. Over the seasons since, her talking points have revolved around a similar theme: Clothes should unencumber you, not complicate your life. Her one rule is that there are no rules.
Did this collection live up to those principles? The thigh-high hems conveyed a carefree, youthful attitude, especially since they were paired with flat shoes, but the plunging U-necks, held in place with what looked like tie clips, might not prove as easy to wear. Nylon taffeta zip polos worn with tech-y pants got closer to the effortlessness she said she was aiming for. A coat, coatdress, and skirt suit with stand-away collars had a more retro look, in keeping with the ’60s influences we’ve seen elsewhere this week.
In comparison with Burch’s recent collections, there were a lot more embellishments here, even taking the form of a chainmail tunic strung with bells that jingled as the model walked by. It might not be the most practical of garments, but another thing Burch has been cultivating is her sense of play. The earrings in looks 7 and 12? Those were cows, no explanation given. As for all those crinoline rings, Burch explained that she liked taking what once held women back and turning them into something freeing. Into possibilities. We all can get with that.
This article was originally published on Vogue Runway.