tory burch summer 2020
photography via imaxtree

Here’s How Vintage Handkerchiefs and Princess Diana Inspired Tory Burch’s New Collection

“Diana certainly was a style icon, but we were more interested in her character. She had immeasurable strength and resilience.”

Two British icons—rambling gardens and Princess Diana—led to the intricate pieces designed by Tory Burch for Summer 2020. Further inspired by her vintage handkerchief collection, the designer created a dress that took 40 hours of hand-crafting to complete. Here’s a look at how it was made.

Caftans have become a wardrobe staple for people who take a more leisurely approach to life—those who stop to smell the roses, real or imagined. New York-based designer Tory Burch was also in a floral frame of mind when she began to visualize pieces for her current collection, which includes a handful of handkerchief-inspired looks.

The pleasingly breezy caftan pictured here is among them. For the runway, Burch styled it with gleaming white sneakers, but it will look just as appealing worn with slippers, slides or mules (depending on where you’re passing time on any given day).

“English gardens were the starting point for the florals as Diana, Princess of Wales was the inspiration for our Spring 2020 collection,” says Burch about the tender motifs of roses, pansies, blue trumpets and more that cascade down the caftan’s body. They are also embroidered on the removable handkerchief-style plackets on the garment, which are affixed with delicate buttons. Why was the princess a touchstone in Burch’s creative process for the season?

Photography by Sandro Altamirano

“Diana certainly was a style icon, but we were more interested in her character,” explains the designer. “She had immeasurable strength and resilience.”

Truly the most remarkable characteristic of this caftan (and the other embroidered garments in Burch’s collection) is its construction. Taking upwards of 40 hours of hand-stitching to complete, the fabrics were inspired by the vintage handkerchiefs that Burch collects—particularly the ones she uncovered in a Brooklyn flea market. She’s enamoured by the history of hankies and what they’ve symbolized over the years, from being tossed by Roman gladiator battle spectators to signal when a fight should begin to representing love and its promise between two sweethearts. Indeed, the images these charming squares conjure are as heady as a summer day.

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