Tory Burch goes global

The queen of preppy chic is setting up shop in Beirut


Following a massive global expansion plan that includes 84 new stores this year alone, Tory Burch is finally arriving in Beirut with her colorful and accessibly priced fashion. Although her clothes have been available at Aïzone for quite some time now, the designer is set to unveil a new stand-alone boutique in Downtown Beirut this summer. “Beirut is international and sophisticated,” says Burch, “and I’ve always been drawn to its diverse culture and history. When we looked at our footprint in the Middle East, we knew that Beirut would be a key part of our expansion.”


In a few years, Tory Burch has gone from all American to global. Mothers and daughters around the world lust after the brand’s iconic T logo medallion, the effortless glam reminiscent of Jackie O., the bright tones and the cult Reva ballerinas. With her Beirut store, Burch is initiating an important Middle Eastern expansion that should bring the brand substantial growth.


“Beirut is a very important market for us,” says the designer. “Our customers there know our brand and embrace our colors, prints and lifestyle. They also appreciate our balance of beautifully made pieces.”


Burch’s socialite lifestyle inspires her collections and makes them especially desirable to women – hence the appearance of many of her clothes on the hit TV show Gossip Girl. Raised in a 250-year-old farmhouse in Pennsylvania and daughter to a businessman father and actress mother, Burch moved to New York at a young age to work in fashion and launched her label from her Upper East Side apartment in 2004. When she opened her Nolita flagship store that year, the collection was an immediate success, selling out almost immediately. Many awards and recognitions later, Burch combines multiple roles – business mogul, mother of two and philanthropist. She runs between her Flatiron district office, her home and the airport, leading a life that in many ways reflects the ethos of the brand: dynamic, glamorous and laid-back. Trips this year have included Beirut, Morocco, Milan and a design inspiration visit to Maastricht.


“I started thinking about my own company in 2001,” explains Burch, a bubbly petite with a luminous strawberry blonde mane. “At the time, prices in the industry were getting higher and higher, and I felt there was something missing in the market and in my own closet – a designer aesthetic at a more accessible price.”


This season’s collection gleans its inspiration from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. The collection, which mixes casual cool and elegant classics, coincidentally hits stores roughly at the same time as Baz Luhrmann’s film version hits theaters worldwide. “When we started to design our collection, I had just seen the off-Broadway play Gatz, based on The Great Gatsby,” says Burch. “We thought about that era and were inspired by the seaside town of Deauville in the ‘20s. Pieces are sporty and polished, with mixed textures and prints.”


Next year, Burch fans will be treated to a lovely surprise: a new beauty line created with Estée Lauder.


The new Tory Burch store is scheduled to open in July on Abdel Malek Street in Downtown Beirut.


By Shirine Saad