The US designer famed for her footwear tells Mandy Cohen why she’s looking forward to her first UK standalone store.
You opened your first standalone store in London last month. What interests you about the UK?
When I think of interesting fashion, London is the first place that comes to mind. I love the street style and the fact British women take fashion risks. We have business here with Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Selfridges and Net-a-Porter. They have been cultivating our customer over the years and we’ve seen that the UK has potential. Tory Burch is an American brand but it has a much more global point of view.
How do you aim to translate your design handwriting for the UK market?
Having a standalone store here is nice because people can really see the breadth of what we do. We’re known for the ballet flat shoe we design but our collection reaches further than that.
How have you seen your label grow over the past six years?
We started the company out of my kitchen and now we have nearly 700 employees. I could never have imagined the growth we’ve had, but in many ways I feel like we’re just beginning. We hope to open 12 boutiques in Europe in the next three to five years.
What inspires your collections?
Our design aesthetic is inspired by different things, whether it’s art, music or travelling. Last summer I spent a month travelling around Rajasthan in India with my family, friends and design team. The trends, patterns and colours all made for an inspirational trip.
Are you designing product specifically for the UK market?
Now we have a store here we’ll be doing some more exclusives for the department stores. As far as catering specifically for the UK, not yet, but once we learn more about our customer here I’m open to anything. The great thing about having a standalone store is that it can act as a lab, and we can take things out and see how it works.
Why do you think now is a good time to open the store, given the tough economic climate? I’ve wanted to open a store for a while. Before the [economic] climate changed we were looking at a shop on Bruton Street [in London’s Mayfair], but when the economy fell apart we decided against it. When this shop on New Bond Street became available it seemed somehow organic. The [economic] climate seems to be improving, and it feels like the right time for us to start.
The Reva ballerina flat is one of your signature styles. What makes the shoe so popular?
What I hear from women is that they’re very comfortable and easy, and they give a little bit of branding and glamour without costing a fortune.
How are you going to build your UK profile?
Social media and the Tory Burch blog continue to be great tools to connect with our customers.
We will also ship internationally from www.toryburch.com later this year - our British customers will have more access to our collection.
You appeared in TV shows Gossip Girl [with actress Blake Lively, above] and Project Runway. How was that?
I’m a fan of those shows so it was incredible.
What are your favourite styles this season?
I have many favourites each season -recently I’ve been wearing our Sissy sandal [pictured], leopard-print blouse and our sequin Gordie jacket.
Is it true you named the best-selling Reva shoe after your mother?
It’s fitting that the shoe [pictured] named after my mother [third from right, beside Burch] has become so popular. She has always been my good luck charm.
Tory Burch is founder and creative director of the eponymous womenswear label