Will Tory Burch Wage Retail Revenge on Christopher Burch & C. Wonder?
Lured in by the cheery, carefree music blasting from the high ceilings of the SoHo storefront, I walked in to what I thought was a Kate Spade store and got a visual punch in the face. Pure energy emitting from lime-green walls, magnified by bursts of shiny, yellow-gold accents. Eager and happy to serve, the store clerks showed me around when my eye caught sight of a Hermes knockoff cuff, complete with horse bit (unfortunately, it’s sold out now). Walking out excited and giddy, I remarked to myself what progress I thought Kate Spade made in updating her store. What I was shocked to discover was that the store, C. Wonder, belongs to Tory Burch’s ex-husband J. Christopher. But looking past the brand’s last name and into his actual background, I shouldn’t have been.
A venture capitalist, J. Christopher Burch experienced his first fashion success with college sportswear line, Eagle’s Eye, that he sold for $60 million. Unfortunately, if you google the brand today, Ebay pops up as the sole retailer who carries their clothes. So while Christopher may have known how to start a business, his ex-wife Tory Burch, may have been the branding brains exemplified in the worldwide success of her brand.
But visiting a C. Wonder store may change your mind as to what C. Burch has up his sleeve. Here are my top picks that make the store one step ahead in terms of innovation:
C. Wonder Velvet Travel Ballet Flats $68
You’ve seen the cheap Dr. Scholls version of these – made of plastic with minuscule amounts of padding. These stylish babies that resemble Hugh Hefner’s signature loafers are made of “luxe” velvet and pack a whopping 5 inches of padding and rubber sole. With textures ranging from metallics to snakeskin, the flats even offer monogram patterns. Sure, they aren’t nightclub backup flats, but they are perfect for overnight escapades and vacays.
Suede Pump (leather upper AND lining) $98, Clip-On Pump Accessories $28
Genius! Offered in vibrant hues, these otherwise basic suede pumps are perfect for work and transitions well into the night with a variety of sparkly metal clips. Essentially, that’s one pair of shoes for $126 and equates into $63 for work shoes and $63 for party shoes. If you get the $28 clip, it would equate to an additional $14 each pair since you can attach it to the front OR back. With holiday parties being held an hour or so after work, it’ll be a hell of a lot easier to change. Though economically sound, tread carefully, as I think the clips may leave an imprint on the suede.
Although they divorced, Christopher Burch remains co-founder of Tory Burch Inc. It will be interesting to see how his new store will affect the relationship he has with both his ex-wife and brand Tory Burch.
Some other C. Wonder noteworthys:
Clutches with cool industrial closures! Lining is metallic and the price isn’t insane considering the included chain strap (not shown…what am I, your personal catalog?!?).
Elva Fields created a limited edition jewelry line and this one is by far the most unique. Double ended tassel necklace with rhinestones on each end — rarely do you see jewelry you can style to decorate your back, waist and neck. This one is around $98 and for the variety is so worth the price.
Read more about the Burch situation at NY Mag