I have spent a few days trying to figure out how to write this blog entry so I don’t sound like I’ve lost 37 IQ points.
Let me start out by saying this first: I don’t value celebrity. My demographic tells Hollywood consistently that we are old and wise enough to see through the ‘shiny’ veneer and the sham of it all: the fake smiles on the red carpet, borrowed $35,000 gowns, the often short and shallow marriages, the crazy push for youth and perfection that leaves egos fragile and rehab clinics booked.
I kid you not, there is only one famous person I ever cared to meet and this past week I met her. And now I can go about my life, a big ‘wish’ on my Wish List filled in full. It’s a magnificent thing.
Tory Burch rolled in to Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday, July 16th for a rare visit to her boutique at our SouthPark Mall and most especially to meet with Bank of America reps and local female entrepreneurs about her foundation, The Tory Burch Foundation which helps to provide micro-loans, ranging from $500 to $50,000, to female small business owners in need. Currently, over 200 loans have been administered to female entrepreneurs in eight different states including North Carolina.
Tory’s first stop for the day was her boutique with an invitation only, security-in-front-of the-boutique’s-huge-lacquered-orange doors event. It was also standing room only as my daughter (Caroline) and I were welcomed in and had a chance to scan the well-heeled women of Charlotte who, like us, understood the allure of Reva flats, a $295 tunic and the necessity of carrying any one of her bags, wristlets or clutches.
As a fun side bar, the boutique had been prepared up and down, inside and out for the unusual visit. (Tory rarely gets around to visit her boutiques and has not visited all of them, she said to us.) Carpet was changed, props (like large Baluster vases in the classic blue and white pattern) and vases of pink peonies, her favorite flower–or so I have heard– were placed just ‘so’ around the boutique. A coffee table to anchor the two white couches, standard in most Tory boutiques and so cozy for trying shoes on and chatting, was flown in from corporate in New York City. And most importantly, the lighting was adjusted and dimmed because Tory does not like bright artificial light. (Me either– another reason to love her.)
My daughter Caroline was poised. I was a mess. I was nervous and curious and overwhelmed. And yes, I will admit, shaking.
(Tory’s head of visuals for Tory Burch stands to her left. He did not stop smiling in all the time he was there. I think he loves his job.)
Tory arrived a touch late but not so much that you think the event and you and everyone else there who had stopped the middle of their day to meet and greet, were an afterthought to her. Nope, she gets high marks from me for being respectful of her fan’s and associate’s time and being appropriately on time. That’s big to me.
Caroline had wisely positioned us at the back of the store by the dressing and stock room entrance and with a turn of our heads, suddenly there she was Tory Reva Burch the designer I’d been following since 2004 (yes, even before that big Oprah debut in 2005).
I remember when I first saw a Tory Burch piece and I thought to myself right then that I had no idea who this designer was but if she kept doing this kind of fashion magic, this could be big. I was collecting Tory before she was on most women’s radar. I liked her pieces even back then, a decade ago. Her collections had strong Moroccan and equestrian influences. I found her tunics that are so iconic today, to be so refreshing and wearable; they were beautifully cut and embellished with the coolest Ikat prints, a look I’d really never seen on the street.
So on Wednesday, Tory walked into an adoring Charlotte crowd with the most delightful body language–a little shy– and with a python Tory bag in front of her, almost for protection.
There were two women just before Caroline and I and Tory first stopped to talk to them. I was shocked. No one not even the associates at the store knew if anyone would get to talk to her. They had no idea what to expect of the store visit so I think we all caught our breath that she made herself available and approachable immediately. I whispered to Caroline: “I can’t believe this. I am standing an arm’s length from Tory Burch.” So began the downward spiral of my IQ that afternoon…
And then, then Tory Burch turned to Caroline and myself and extended her petite hand and said, “Hello! I’m Tory Burch!”
I shook her hand and I shook while shaking her hand.
Caroline was poised and behaving as if this were a routine introduction.
I had followed faithfully Tory Burch and her rise for 10 years, stocked my small closet to overflowing with her tunics, sweaters, coats and shoes, googled her, watched her on tv, read her about in Vogue and Vanity Fair and now here she was, kindly, elegantly and graciously engaging me in conversation. I will be honest–I had to defer to Caroline with some responses to her. I couldn’t get my act together enough to tell her where we were originally from when she asked us nor could I ask even one of the intelligent questions I had gone over and over in my mind for her.
Fortunately Caroline was seamless. She responded that we were originally from Ohio but we loved living in Charlotte now. Tory said she would love to have been born in the South and been a Southern belle and said how much she loved visiting it. Caroline asked her if she was staying overnite and Tory smiled and said that no, she and her three boys were heading to Montanna the next day for a vacation so she would be flying home to New York that evening. By the way, she has a beautiful voice. I know that sounds odd. But in person, her voice is really pretty to listen to.
I asked her if she would mind taking a picture and she said no, not at all. I felt light- headed.
I had researched before this shindig, Tory in photos and noticed that she did not always place her arm around whoever she was standing beside. And too, you never know if people–even those not famous–feel comfortable with when it comes to their personal space. So respectfully I held my arms down and prepared for a picture I planned to put on my Facebook page immediately. But then! Then! Then Tory put her arm around me for the picture and I did the same and I thought all this was a class act.
I took a picture of her and Caroline and you can see how that went, above. I was too shaky to get a clear picture. More IQ points subtracted from my dwindling total.
We thanked Tory for the photos and off she went to meet and greet her next adoring fan, kindly asking me a second time as she walked away, the name of my blog I had mentioned to her as we talked.
“The Hip Report! Think of your hip!!!,” I said. Oh that she would ever remember to check it out! A pipe dream I suppose. (“Think of your ‘hip‘? I said this to Tory Burch? Ugh. Definitely subtract a wad of IQ points for that one.)
But that’s not it.
There are ‘Tory Observations.’ Yep. There are observations my daughter and I made about her. I stopped by the Tory boutique yesterday enroute to picking up my daughter at her job at Nordies and my dear Charlotte sales associate Anne-Marie Bullock (who I profiled a few months back on The Hip Report) had her own ‘Tory Observations’ from her visit so we discussed! That ‘Tory’ magic had not worn off. I will say with solid conviction that Tory Burch is quite a presence to meet. You don’t get where she has gotten without some really incredible presence.
So here follow some Tory Observations from the big day. Again, what I didn’t pick up, Anne-Marie and Caroline did. And when you meet Tory Burch, you want to know and notice everything about her. It’s hard to explain but it’s just the way it is. Then you want to talk about it with someone else. It’s hard to explain but it’s just the way it is.
The outfit she was wearing: Tory had on a blue striped tweed jacket and pencil skirt with fringe detail and a blueish gray silk shell. Anne-Marie did not think her shoes were Tory Burch and she said Tory wears a lot of Balenciaga so perhaps??? I thought her navy blue and white spectator-inspired shoes actually looked very ‘Tory’–a lot more conservative than Balenciaga typically is.
I was also informed that Tory will have one-of-a-kind Tory Burch pieces made for her so perhaps this was one of those suits. It was conservative, lovely and a flattering color for her. And it was a good weight for a humid Southern day in the Queen City.
Her outfit to me was reminiscent of Spring/Summer 2012 when for the first time, she showed at New York fashion week to excellent reviews. It was inspired by Deauville, France and the chic resort town that it was in the ’20′s. Today it all remains some of my most favorite Tory and I feel lucky to have collected some pieces from it that I still wear often.
Her ensemble also reminded me of her Resort 2014 looks with the thatched tweed. Again, when you own the company, you have it all at your disposal to create a one-of-kind.
The Bracelet and Watch She Wore: A leather band (maybe a watch–no idea of the brand) and a dainty charm bracelet were all I saw on her wrists. Perhaps this is the cherished charm bracelet her mother Reva gave her, one she has spoken fondly and sentimentally of in interviews.
Those Earrings, Those Covetable Earrings: Right away you noticed Tory’s earrings. They were like nothing I had ever seen. A perk of living in the world’s greatest shopping destination, NYC, she has at her access the best and newest. I found myself staring at her earlobes because I keep up on the trends but I had never seen anything like these before. My daughter whispered to me, raving about them as we watched Tory work the room.
It took Anne-Marie to figure this one out. I just guessed they were maybe Van Cleef and Arpels but after some detective work, Anne-Marie gets props for discovering their provenance: ‘Christian Dior’s ‘Mise En Dior’ earrings.
Apparently this utterly gorgeous accessory had completely missed my trend radar and here they were, all over Hollywood.
Actually inspired by tribal jewelry, these little numbers come in wild shades and various finishes. They will set you back over $500 and beyond, depending on the style. It remains to be seen if these will become as iconic as say, Elsa Peretti Diamonds by the Yard earrings:
or Van Cleef and Arpels Alhambras:
I think they will. I think Mise in Dior earrings are going to have a long shelf life because they are profoundly unique but simple– and really, they’ll go with anything. If you are catching your breath at the price, fear not–there is a cheaper option. Go to:
Here you will find some very acceptable knockoffs. They will not of course have the quality or heft of the Diors but you can still have the runway look for much, much less.
I can tell you in person, these earrings are spectacular and fascinating to look at. Never seen anything like them. And of course Tory was sporting them as effortlessly as she does everything else she wears.
Tory’s Skin: I also noticed Tory’s completely flawless (and I do mean flawless) skin as she stood in front of me. I don’t see skin on women her age (she’s 48) looking that good. I don’t see it that smooth, that healthy looking, that youthful looking and free of sun damage. By this age we all usually have some sun spots. Botox can take care of the lines but skin as luminescent as hers is just not the norm. She didn’t wear much makeup and I wasn’t really surprised by that. In all her pictures she looks fresh and natural and that’s exactly what I saw standing in front of me.
Again, props go to Anne-Marie at Tory Burch who tracked down Tory’s skin care and facialist. She’s of course out of NYC and her name is Tracie Martyn, and she owns a salon in her namesake and also offers a line of natural, organic skin care. Yes, it is pricey. Yes, it works if Tory’s skin is any indication of its effectiveness. Says Tory of Martyn:
” I go to Tracie Martyn for a facial when I can. It’s incredible. I started going there a few months ago when a friend told me about it. I have her products and use the Resculpting Body Cream all over my face and all over the body.”
You can go to Tracie’s website and even purchase her products:
I wish I could explain how surreal Tory’s skin looked. It looked so healthy. Yes, that’s it. It looked healthy and fresh. It was skin I covet. I think in the future I might try a few of Martyn’s products, curious about the results. If I try it, you can be sure it will be in a future edition of The Hip Report.
Meeting Tory Burch was exciting and inspirational. She is quite a woman on all accounts—-accomplished, beautiful, driven, talented, visionary and she knows how to assemble a good team, key in any CEO’s success.
But when it all comes down to it, she’s really just a single mom trying to make her days count, do a good job and get home to her boys in time to enjoy them for the evening. In fact, when we were talking, her face lit up the most when she mentioned her three boys.
She’s just like the rest of us. Of course.