Store openings can often be a bit of a snooze fest. Exactly how many clean white spaces, filled with racks of clothes, can one walk through with a smile, especially after a day of fashion shows, watching models walk down clean, white runways in the next season’s clothes?
Fortunately, Tory Burch’s Madison Avenue flagship opening Tuesday night broke the mold. Entering the 19th century townhouse felt more like walking into someone’s ultra chic home than a retail outlet. Clothes, bags, shoes and jewelry melded seamlessly with carpeted dark wood stairs, ikat pillow bedecked chaises and tasteful nature covered wallpaper showcasing vintage black and white framed photos.
“I totally want to move in,” said Marjorie Gubelmann, echoing a sentiment heard throughout the evening.
The third and top floor even boasted a stone ground terrace lit with candelight-esque sconces. On the facing brick wall, a video version of the colorful drawings and phrases De La Vega created for Burch was projected.
The artist himself was on the fifth floor, which acted as a de facto VIP space for Burch and her guests, who mingled in a mirrored room. When asked about his collaboration with Burch—his designs decorated the back of her show’s invitations and are also a print on a capsule collection to benefit The Tory Burch Foundation—he evoked a higher being (no, not the CFDA).
“God arranged it,” he said with a straight face, explaining that he met Tory in her downtown store a few months ago. “Become the Dream is the theme behind my work, so I stuck to that with a combination of fish imagery.”
“I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought about it,” said De La Vega, who credited another higher being with his dapper tie and jacket ensemble. “My mom dressed me. She picked out everything. I’d be a madman if I didn’t have a powerful woman near me.”
Amen. Some other powerful women soon entered the room, among them Lucy Liu, Serena Williams and Reva Robinson, Burch’s mother and inspiration for the famous flat that has now catapulted her to one name fame.
“When I was in Tokyo, they were running after me, asking me to sign their Reva ballerina shoes,” she said, laughing.
Things soon got packed on the fifth floor, so much so that one poor waiter had the misfortune of accidentally spilling half a glass of white wine on a very gracious Liu.
“She said, ‘Don’t worry no one died,’” said the poor fellow, clearly still mortified. “I said, ‘You’re not the one who’s about to be guillotined.”
Burch seemed perfectly at home handling the many admirers—and that’s pretty much the idea.
“We thought it would be interesting to restore the space to look like something from the 1880s. This room was inspired by Madeleine Castaing an interior designer, and she inspired some of my apartment, so there are elements of it here,” she said, smiling when she heard how many people expressed a desire to move in. “They can—we can rent it out,” she joked.
Just after ten, Burch’s other half, Lyor Cohen arrived, along with Jay Z and Beyonce, who may be having the edgiest pregnancy ever, wearing a cut out black leather topped dress. Unexpected houseguests? In this case, I’m guessing they’d be welcome.
Photos: Billy Farrell Agency