Unbeknown to many, Black Mountain College played a historic role in shaping and nurturing some of the most celebrated artists of the mid-20th century. Revered for its progressive approach to learning with an emphasis on the arts, the highly influential school was responsible for producing a pool of talented artists, a list that spans from Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Josef and Anni Albers, Jacob Lawrence and Merce Cunningham.
Inspired by the college’s unconventional approach to education and for shaping the trajectory of modern art in America, Tory Burch references the defining era through her Fall/Winter 2019 collection. “This season is a mix-match of revamped classics — floral prints, graphic stripes, menswear materials and romantic silhouettes. There’s a modern eccentricity to raw fringe, exaggerated ruffles, knife pleats, cut-glass jewellery, deconstructed bags and sharp boots,” she says.
As with every season for the brand, feminine florals pieces were well-represented and juxtaposed with bold stripes and vivid paisleys. Crochet patches introduce a sense of nostalgia while unfinished embroideries deliberately pay homage to the technical artistry of Anni Albers, fellow alumni and teacher at Black Mountain.
Uncomplicated, relaxed silhouettes showcase a sense of effortless modernity while polished staples including tailored trousers, structured loden coats and classic blazers restore balance to the billowy shapes. It all comes down to the art of clever layering – think sporty parkas draped over evening gowns.
On the accessory front, footwear drew admiring compliments from the audience especially when high-shine Mary Janes and loafers in velvet, leather and brass hardware made an appearance on the runway.