Q&A: Tory Burch in Myanmar

  • Tory Burch in a traditional Burmese rickshaw en route to Ngapali Beach.

    Tory Burch in a traditional Burmese rickshaw en route to Ngapali Beach.

  • In Morocco. Image courtesy of Tory Burch.

    In Morocco. Image courtesy of Tory Burch.

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Although she is the fashion world’s newest billionaire, designer Tory Burch, CEO of her own wildly successful global lifestyle brand, has the heart of a traveler. In fact, it is her world travels that inspire her collections. Most recently, Burch visited Myanmar, an experience that the New York–based style maker tells us she won’t soon forget.

Why Myanmar?

It was just one of those beautiful, magical places I had read about and always wanted to visit. I was drawn by its architecture, amazing crafts, and unique blend of cultural influences, both from neighboring countries and from the former British colonials.

While there, what inspired you the most?

There was something to take in everywhere we looked, from baskets of spices and vegetables in open markets to the intricate architecture of each monastery and pagoda. I’m sure Burmese influences will make their way into one of our future collections.

What did you take with you?

An iPod, a camera, a straw hat, a Smythson travel diary, and a red ribbon, for good luck.

What did you bring back?

Hundreds of pictures, colorful blue pottery, traditional lacquerware, and a handmade rattan minaudière.

What is the most memorable thing you did there?

I had the honor of taking part in the Buddhist tradition of sweeping the floors (with a beautifully crafted and colorful broom) at Shwedagon Pagoda, in Yangon. This is said to ensure good luck and grant you “merits” in the afterlife. And looking out over the thousands of ancient pagodas, temples, and stupas of Bagan, I realized that they’re not just heritage sites or tourist landmarks. There’s a reverence there that is so strong it will outlast any regime, and will endure for generations to come.

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