February 13, 2012 New York
It was polished and then some, like the ladies who might have inhabited Burch's stomping grounds of the Pierre a few decades ago. The models wore gloves, hosiery, and neat-as-a-pin pointy spectator pumps, and nearly every girl carried a handbag. Hint, hint. While some of the bags were covered in whimsical translucent paillettes, they tended toward surprisingly alluring structured old-school shapes, luxed up with tortoise trim and gold chain straps.
What took the clothes to the next level was the sureness Burch displayed in twisting her highly embellished, lady-fied source material. Sure, some saw shades of Prada (call it an homage), but the witty little bits of subversion and eclectic mixes that crescendoed over the course of 42 looks were impressively confident. Burch could easily serve her prettiness straight up and walk away with a mint, but she has her eyes on ever bigger horizons, whether that's ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange (if you believe the speculation about an IPO) or just continuing her enviable skyward arc of growth, wrong guys be damned.