"My mom used to call me her koala," says Tory Burch of her mother, Reva Robinson. "I would glom onto her leg when I was little because I always wanted to be with her." Decades later, that relationship remains the same: "If you check my phone log, you’ll see not much has changed."
The designer has widely cited Robinson's sense of style, derived from years adventuring abroad, as a source of inspiration in her collections. Ahead of Mother's Day, the mom of three boys (twins Nick and Henry, 21, and Sawyer, 18—plus three stepdaughters and three stepsons) shares how her mother has inspired her life, from the making of a global fashion empire to raising children of her own.
What's something you've learned from your mother?
My mom is incredibly positive. Her cup is always half full. She gave me some great advice when I was first starting our company, to deal with the naysayer: negativity is just noise—tune it out.
How has she influenced your designs and aesthetic?
Reva Robinson is the chicest woman I know. For our spring 2019 collection, we actually looked to my parents' travel style. They were adventurers who spent six weeks each summer exploring Europe, Asia and North Africa. One of my favorite looks from the collection was a nod to the easy jersey dresses my mom wore sightseeing with my dad. And, of course, the Reva flat was named after her [the Minnie Travel flat is similar in style].
What qualities in your mother did you hope to emulate when raising your own children?
My mom always boosted my confidence growing up—any time I felt defeated, she would shake me and say, "Don't you know who you are? You're Tory Robinson. You can do anything!" I have my own version of the pep talk with my boys, but the gist is the same: believe in yourself.
How do you celebrate Mother's Day with your mom?
My mom is the consummate hostess. She's always loved entertaining, so it's nice when we get to host her at our home on Long Island. After a lunch, we'll take a walk on the beach and get some good girl talk in.
What is your favorite part of being a mom?
Watching my boys become incredible young men.
What is your favorite way to spend time with your kids?
Traveling with my children is one of my greatest joys. I love seeing them discover new cultures. All three of my boys have inherited my intellectual curiosity and adventurous spirit.
What is your proudest moment as a mom?
It's an accumulation of moments. I think what I'm most proud of, though, is how close my children are. They really are there for each other.
What's the best parenting advice you've received?
Try to be as present as possible—put down the iPhone and let the emails go unanswered.