Designer Tory Burch is a pro, but this is her first Rodeo

The Tory Burch universe just keeps getting bigger.

On Tuesday, the New York-based designer staked her claim on the West Coast’s most famous shopping street, opening her first Rodeo Drive flagship. It’s her fourth store in the Los Angeles area and her 13th in California. And yet there’s something about Rodeo.

“It’s so iconic to L.A.,” Burch said.

The three-story, 4,700-square-foot space at 366 N. Rodeo Drive was designed by Burch and architect Daniel Romualdez, who designs all of the designer’s stores and homes. It has a residential feel with brown lacquer walls and cane tables, seafoam-colored drapes, teal velvet sofas, beachy coral branch sconces and blue-and-white porcelain vases.

The entire Tory Burch collection is available, including Burch’s new home accessories line as well as beauty products created with Estée Lauder.


Do you remember the first time you visited Rodeo Drive?

It was probably in college. I went to UCLA summer school one year. And Rodeo is not a place we should have been shopping, but we did — window shopping!

Tell me about the facade of the store.

The inspiration was Chinese Chippendale furniture, which my parents had when I was growing up. It was really about taking that and translating it into brass over stone. The fretwork motif also carries through the collection and the cap of the new perfume bottle.

How does the design of the store reflect L.A.?

It’s a combination of sophisticated and bohemian. Seafoam pillows and tile, mixed with some pieces I found in Morocco.

You really do go shopping for your stores?

Absolutely! In Morocco, I found these antique Syrian tile mirrors, and I immediately thought of L.A.

There’s a focus on home as a new category in this store.

There are lots of items for gift-giving, such as needlepoint pillows. We took some pillows my parents needlepointed when I was growing up and remade them. One style has the phrase, “Everything begets thee to me,” which was a saying my father had with my mother. We also did brass picture frames, a clear acrylic ice bucket and a walnut-shaped nutcracker.

Beauty is also a new category. How long did you work on the fragrance?

It took about 21/2 years to develop. I knew that “fresh” was a word I wanted to be part of a fragrance, as well as mixing tomboy and feminine aspects. Vetiver by Guerlain, which my father wore, was a starting point. I added peony, tuberose, sandalwood and grapefruit.

What was hardest part?

Toward the end of the process, it came down to two fragrances, which they then tested. The one that tested higher I didn’t love. I knew I wanted to wear my own fragrance, so making the decision to not go with something that was off-the-charts from a testing standpoint was hard. They probably looked at me like I was crazy. But we went back to the drawing board and actually came up with a combination of the two.

You also have a blush/bronzer, a lip/cheek tint and a few other beauty products. It’s a very limited launch.

I wanted it to be about a less-is more approach — less makeup and less effort.

I know you are passionate about your foundation’s work micro-financing women entrepreneurs. What’s the latest news?

We’re helping women through small loans, mentorship and now with entrepreneurial education. Last year, we started a pilot program with Goldman Sachs, Babson College and LaGuardia Community College, a mini business school in nine weeks. It’s going to be launching at Los Angeles City College in January.

You are coming up on 10 years in business. Where do you hope to be in the next 10 years?

Every decision is how do we grow organically but not too aggressively. We’re really patient about picking partners. Fragrance is a new category, and we’re launching watches with Fossil.

Tell me about the Tory Burch Sport line.

That will be a major step, creating another brand. That will be coming in 2015, and it’s being designed in house. It marries function and style. It will be yoga, running, some tennis and golf.

With a business valued at $2 billion, how do you manage to make time for yourself?

I put my BlackBerry away at night. Otherwise, you can be in an endless cycle of work.