Tory Birch

Tory Burch
Burch in India, 2009
Born Tory Robinson
(1966-06-17) June 17, 1966 (age 48)
Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, United States
Residence New York City
Education University of Pennsylvania
Occupation Fashion designer
Known for Tory Burch line of clothing and accessories
Net worth Increase US$ 1.0 billion (March 2013)[1]
Spouse(s) William Macklowe (1993; divorced)
J. Christopher Burch (1996-2006; divorced)

2005 Rising Star, Fashion Group International;

2007 brand launch award, Accessories Council of Excellence;
CFDA Accessories Designer of the Year, 2008

Tory Burch (born June 17, 1966; née Robinson) is an American fashion designer, business woman, and philanthropist, who has won several fashion awards for her designs.[2] She was born, raised, and educated in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

Personal life

Family and education

Burch was born in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania,[3] the daughter of Reva (née Schapira) and Ira Earl "Bud" Robinson (b. Jan. 6, 1923 - d. Aug. 9, 2007).[4] She was raised with her three brothers (Robert, James and Leonard) [5] in a Valley Forge farmhouse, a 250-year old Georgian near the Valley Forge National Historical Park.[6]

Her mother is a former actress who dated Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando.[6] Her father, who was a wealthy investor, is now deceased.[7] Her father inherited a stock exchange seat and a paper cup company. He dated Grace Kelly and Joan Bennett.[6] Tory's father was fourteen years older than her mother.[6] Burch is Jewish on her mother's side.[8][9]

Burch attended the Agnes Irwin School in Rosemont, PA, where she rode horses, was captain of the tennis team,[6] and was a friend of jewelry designer Kara Ross (they remain friends today).[10] Her first job was at Benetton in the King of Prussia Mall.[10] She then attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a member of the women's sorority Kappa Alpha Theta. She majored in art history, and graduated in 1988.[6]

Marriage and subsequent life

She was first married (1993, divorced within a year) to William Macklowe, son of real-estate tycoon Harry B. Macklowe.[11] From 1996 through 2006, she was married to J. Christopher Burch,[7] an investor in Internet Capital Group, a venture capital firm founded by Walter Buckley and Ken Fox. She dated Lance Armstrong in 2007.[12][13] More recently, she has been linked to Lyor Cohen.[14][15][16][17] After divorcing from Burch, she continued to live with her children in their New York City apartment. She has three sons and three stepdaughters.[2]

In January 2013, Forbes magazine estimated that she is now a billionaire with a net worth of $1.0 billion.[18]


Burch was co-chair of the American Ballet Theatre Spring Gala in 2007.[19] She is also active in a variety of socialite activities such as passing out gift bags at The Lung Cancer Research Foundation's "Strides for Life" Race.[20]

Film appearances

In 2009, she appeared in the fourth episode of Gossip Girl season three as herself.[21]

Year Film Role Notes
2004 Just a Clown (special thanks)
2008 America's Next Top Model (special thanks)
2009 Gossip Girl Herself (season 3,4th episode)
2012 Fashion King Herself Cameo

Fashion career

Early work

After graduating from college Tory moved to New York City, where she worked for Zoran, a Yugoslavian designer,[6] and at Harper's Bazaar magazine. She then moved into public relations and advertising positions at Vera Wang,[6][22] Polo Ralph Lauren and Loewe when Narciso Rodriguez was there.[23]

Fashion label

She began a fashion label, "TRB by Tory Burch"—later known as "Tory Burch", in February 2004. The company has grown to include over 100 Tory Burch stores worldwide.[24] Her fashion line is carried at over 1,000 department and specialty stores worldwide,[25] including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus[26] Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's.[27] Her flagship store is in the NoLIta neighborhood of Manhattan.[3][28]

In April 2005, Oprah Winfrey endorsed her line on The Oprah Winfrey Show.[2] In 2009, Tory Burch sold a minority stake in her company to a Mexican private equity firm, Tresalia Capital.[29] Additional minority investors were added in December 2012 in conjunction with the settlement of a legal dispute between Burch and her ex-husband. This settlement is said to have removed a substantial obstacle to a forthcoming IPO, which has been the subject of considerable discussion in the financial and fashion industries.[30][31]

Design style

Her style has been described as preppy-boho and preppy-bohemian luxe[2] and is known for including her T-logo medallion.[22] Some select styles of sunglasses, such as the Rounded Aviator, have the signature logo printed on the lens.[3] Her styles are popular with the viewers and fans of the television show Gossip Girl, which they often appear on,[32] and among different generations.[33] Her style is known for being easy to wear and for being widely part of a versatile wardrobe.[6][22][34][35] In 2007, there were wait lists to buy her fashions,[36] which are representations of and homages to 1950s and 1960s fashions.[6][37] Burch named her line of Reva ballerina flats after her mother.[6]


In 2008, she won the Council of Fashion Designers of America, as the accessories designer of the year.[38] In 2007, she won the Accessory Brand Launch of the year award from the Accessories Council of Excellence.[3][39] In 2005, she won Rising Star Award to Burch for best new Retail Concept from the Fashion Group International.[3]


In 2009, Burch founded the Tory Burch Foundation, which supports the economic empowerment of women in the U.S. through small business loans, mentoring and entrepreneurial education.[40][41] The foundation is currently partnered with ACCION USA, a non-profit domestic microfinance provider founded in 1991.[42][43] Her stores sell several products whose proceeds support the Foundation’s work.[44]

She is on the board of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and chaired the 2006 spring gala for the American Ballet Theatre. In 2008, she was honored at a Colleague Helpers in Philanthropic Services (C.H.I.P.S.) luncheon that benefited the Children’s Institute, Inc.[45]


External links

  • Tory Burch main website
  • Tory Burch Foundation website
  • Fashion Model Directory
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