Tory Burch

Upper East Side preppy goes to Palm Beach, with a sixties cocktail-party twist—add it all up and you've got Tory Burch.

In the few short years since her arrival on the New York scene, Burch has made a name for herself with brightly colored caftans, shifts, and cardigans that are rich-looking but with a lounge-y soul and a reasonable price tag. The color palette is instantly recognizable (vibrant oranges and olives, mod two-tones) and she gives even her best-selling and much-imitated flats a glam once-over with gold finishings. Her sequined dresses have been benefit-circuit musts, and her other accessories—clutches, jewelry, carryalls—are bound to get as much play on Canal Street as her ever-present shoes.

Brought up in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Burch learned the ropes doing PR for Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, and Loewe. In 2004, with the financial help of now ex-husband Chris Burch (a venture capitalist who stayed on as co-chairman), she launched her line from her uptown Manhattan apartment. The next year, Oprah Winfrey went on the air to declare her "the next big thing" in fashion—and Burch's fate was sealed. In 2008 the CFDA named her Accessory Designer of the Year, and glossy magazines busied themselves chronicling the mushroomlike spread of Tory Burch boutiques from coast to coast.

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