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Tory Burch finds English joy to soothe troubled times

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Tory Burch dominated New York Fashion Week day two Friday with an upbeat collection of bold color and geometric print hoping to off-set troubled political times with a little escapism.

[NEW YORK] Tory Burch dominated New York Fashion Week day two Friday with an upbeat collection of bold color and geometric print hoping to off-set troubled political times with a little escapism.

The doyenne of preppy chic worked to create an English garden in the grounds of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum on Manhattan's Upper East Side, a bucolic backdrop for a fresh and buoyant collection.

British-American actress Emily Blunt was guest of honor and the 2018 spring/summer clothes situated Burch's signature uptown luxe in the insouciant atmosphere of a garden party or weekend away.

"We need that," the designer and former Hillary Clinton donor told AFP backstage after the show, admitting herself to be as inwardly "not upbeat".

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"I have to compartmentalise because I care deeply about what's happening in our country but I also need to find joy in the way we live our life," Burch added.

"Certainly I feel our collection is about joy and happiness. Not disregarding the sadness of what's happening around, but how do we all come together not be divisive."

The inspiration came from late English interior designer David Hicks, who made carpets for Windsor Castle and decorated the Prince of Wales' first apartment at Buckingham Palace, before working in New York.

"What I wanted to do is to reference him but not be referential. I wanted to put a modern take on it," she said.

Burch, CEO of her eponymous lifestyle brand and valued by Forbes at US$600 million, said she was also coming round more and more to the idea of "less is more" and experimenting.

"I think women kind of want to experiment with colour. It's hard in print but how do you do it in a way that gives people a chance to do that, not always wear black."

Retailer Kate Spade held its presentation at the landmark Oyster Bar on the lower level of Grand Central Terminal, a temple of Beaux-Arts architecture that welcomes coastal commuters to and from Manhattan.

It came just four months after handbag maker Coach announced it had reached a deal to buy Kate Spade for US$2.4 billion as it seeks to move into the label's popularity among the millennial market.

New Orleans was the theme for spring/summer 2018 with romantic and airy clothes, liberal use of florals and pastels combined with smart and sober jeans, university-style jackets.

Deborah Lloyd, president and chief creative officer, summed it up as a "little bit more unbuttoned, a little easier."

She said the buyout had nothing to do with artistic license.

"It is business as usual," she said.

"The reason they bought us, is we are an independent brand."

Top-flight US talent such as Altuzarra, Rodarte and Proenza Schouler may have fled to Europe, but New York is still the dream for at least one up-and-coming Italian designer.

GCDS - aka "God Can't Destroy Streetwear" - unveiled a fun, flirty fantasy inspired by Truman Capote's novel "The Swans of Fifth Avenue" making his New York runway debut on Friday.

Giuliano Calza, 28, founded the luxury, made-in-Italy brand only two years ago in his garage but has already found a devoted niche and famous fans such as Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Hailey Baldwin.

"Milan is fun, it's my town, it's where I live, it's where I do my stuff, but still New York is the dream," Calza told AFP backstage before a show that featured low-slung sweat pants, plenty of under boob, high-waisted knickers and sophisticated cropped knit skirts.

AFP