ELLE – “What college student upholsters her walls with fabric?” quips actress Lizzie Olsen, the indie darling and now muse to designers Pookie and Louisa Burch (Olsen’s former NYU roommate and current neighbor). Despite the sisters’ protestations that they never envisioned themselves joining the family firm—their ex-stepmother is design doyenne Tory; Dad is J. Christopher Burch, the fashion-industry vet behind C. Wonder and a host of other brands—Olsen says, “it would have been shocking if they hadn’t gone into design. They’re just such clean, crisp dressers, and if you were to walk into either of their apartments, you’d assume they were professional decorators.”
After studying photography at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Pookie (née Alexandra) spent time working with textile distributors for her father’s operations in Asia. Tory is a constant source of advice, but you’ll find none of the high-gloss interiors or branded ballet flats that have become synonymous with the family’s surname at Trademark’s sleek 2,500-square-foot SoHo flagship. The sisters Burch turned instead to Stockholm-based retail architect Andreas Bozarth Fornell (Acne, Sandro) to create the chicly sparse, stained concrete and bird’s-eye maple–paneled Grand Street space as a perfect complement to the pared-down elegance of their modern renditions of classic American sportswear.
Free-spirited Pookie, 30, plays the role of principal creative, while business-minded Louisa, 25, oversees operations. Citing famed minimalist Donald Judd and abstract expressionist Barnett Newman as influences for their grown-up take on what could easily be one’s school uniform (knee-length box-pleated skirts, popcorn knits, and shirting in all its iterations), the Burches prove that what they may lack in formal design training, they more than make up for with conviction—and innate good taste. Their whopping 114-piece fall collection, which includes shoes, handbags, and jewelry, didn’t appear overnight: The sisters spent three years tinkering to find the perfect weight of wrinkleproof cotton shirting and making subtle adjustments to their own favorite items.
Despite Trademark’s accessible price point, mostly between $100 and $200, the fuss-free poplins and double-face wools, sophisticated colorways—Pookie based the prominently featured pale blue on a midcentury Italian ceramic teapot—and timelessness of the designs quash any notions of the line being mere “fast fashion.” “We envisioned Trademark as providing the building blocks for the perfect wardrobe,” Pookie explains. “We’re constantly evaluating what pieces are important to us, how we can update them and make them stronger without reinventing the wheel. The Trademark girl has her own sense of style and no qualms about wearing the same thing every day.”
Filed under: Interviews, Photoshoots
November 26 2014