Known for her inventive, ingenious approach to fashion, Tory Burch is a name that dominates the fashion industry. One of America's richest, self-made woman, she has not only established herself as a founder, executive chairman and chief creative officer, but has been able to ensure she has mastered the fine art of balancing family and the running of her foundation.
Bazaar India chats with the icon to have her speak about her brand's evolution, the Tory Burch foundation, her thoughts about sisterhood, her mother, India being an inspiration, and much more.
Harper’s Bazaar: Tory, your eponymous brand, is nearly two decades old. Tell us about how the Tory Burch woman has evolved since the brand’s inception?
Tory Burch: I don’t think about a particular kind of woman when designing a collection—I think about all women, and how I can help them feel confident and beautiful. As I continue to evolve as a designer and as a person, I feel our patrons are evolving with me. I am taking more risks with colour, silhouettes, and layering, and I love seeing how our customer puts their own spin on the collection.
HB: Congratulations on the launch of the Essence of Dreams collection, your new fragrance line...
TB: India is an important market for us, and it holds a very special place for me personally. So I knew I wanted to bring our Essence of Dreams collection here as soon as possible. We spent nearly two years developing these perfumes. I knew I wanted to build a full collection—not just one scent—and that took some time. Fragrance is so personal, and I don’t see women wearing just one anymore; they are collecting scents to alternate, mix, and layer.
HB: Were you actively involved in creating these scents?
TB: Creating these fragrances was incredibly personal for me. I have lost count of how many versions we went through before landing on the perfect fragrances. We spent a lot of time thinking about the dreams and emotions each one would evoke. Divine Moon represents peace—it transports me to my garden in Antigua, where I feel an overwhelming sense of tranquility. Sublime Rose represents love, and is a new, modern twist on a classic rose—it reminds me of the garden in Paris, where my husband proposed to me. Electric Sky is energising and vibrant, channelling absolute freedom, while Mystic Geranium instills joy. It has this contrast of geranium leaf, bergamot, and rich cedarwood. Cosmic Wood feels optimistic and magical, with notes of vetiver
HB: Which notes, in particular, are you drawn towards?
TB: I have always been drawn to vetiver—it was my father’s favourite scent. And I love adding wood to almost everything; our Sublime Rose fragrance is a warm, unexpected mix of rose and freesia with a woody undertone.
HB: What prompted you to launch the Tory Burch Foundation?
TB: I started our company to start a foundation. My concept was to create a global lifestyle brand that could support the work of women, particularly female entrepreneurs.
I am so proud f everything we have achieved in the past 14 years, but our Fellows Program stands out. It is a year-long fellowship for female founders in the US, and we offer mentorship, access to capital, education, and networking. Nearly 30 percent of our Fellows reach $1 million (8.2 crore in rupees) in revenue, which indicates a sustainable business, compared to just 4.2 percent of all women owned businesses in the US.
HB: Why do you think sisterhood is important?
TB: I have always been inspired by women’s unique strengths. Women are natural leaders—they are resilient, visionary, collaborative, and tenacious. They are long-term thinkers, they are incredible multi-taskers, and, in my experience, they often handle stress better than men. I could go on and on...I am a big proponent of women.
HB: Tell us about female mentors who have helped you.
TB: My mother, Reva [Robinson], is still my North Star. In addition to being the most effortlessly stylish woman I know, she is fearless, strong, and always optimistic. From a young age, she and my father instilled in me the confidence to believe in myself and follow my dreams. Her advice has always been to ‘Think of negativity as noise’—something I remind myself of even today.
HB: What do you think women can do to help other women succeed?
TB: Community building is a top priority at our Foundation. Women need safe spaces to thrive, and they need a network of like-minded entrepreneurs to endure the highs and lows of launching a business. Simply talking to someone who can relate to your challenges—and has likely gone through similar problems themselves—can be transformative. We see the entrepreneurs in our Fellows Program helping each other and supporting each other’s businesses, and it’s a ripple effect. They introduce their networks to those businesses, who then become supporters, and it grows and grows.
HB: Lastly, has India inspired you in any way? Would you consider launching an India-specific scent?
TB: India has inspired me from the very beginning—the art, the craftsmanship, the people, the music, the history. It is my favourite place to visit over and over; despite my countless trips over the years, there is still so much more to see. When I create a fragrance, I am interested in capturing a feeling or an emotion, rather than evoking a specific place. But the cardamom in Cosmic Wood does remind me of wandering through the spice markets of Southern India.
This article first appeared in Harper's Bazaar India in May 2023.