08/01/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT
You know you've arrived when Oprah
is in your fan club. Before having Tory Burch on her show, Winfrey pored over the designer's wares—including variations on the gauzy tunic that is this season's must-have piece. With each flick of a hanger, Winfrey told Burch, "I have that. I have that. And that. And that."
Burch, whose collection debuted last year, understands women, from TV divas to busy moms. (She is a mother of three and stepmom to three more.) Her tunic is, she says accurately, "flattering on many shapes." Raves Reese Witherspoon
: the clothes "go from day into evening—great for moms who don't have time to change."
Despite an early love of high fashion—her prom dress was Yves Saint Laurent—Burch, 38, never saw herself on its rarefied runways. "There are so many talented high-end designers," says Burch, who once worked in PR. "That is not where I saw a need." Although some of her pieces are expensive, many are more moderate. (Tank tops are $35, espadrilles, $125.) Inspiration struck in 1995 at a Paris flea market where Burch found a 1960s polyester tunic and reimagined it for today. "It's a trend now," she allows, "but we will always do tunics. I am thrilled if I can help real women feel great getting dressed."