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Simple Luxury: Sarasota Designer Courtney Adams’ Tocco Lusso Clothing Line

By: Heather Dunhill

Fashion blogger Heather Dunhill talks to Sarasota-based fashion designer Courtney Adams about her clothing line, Tocco Lusso.

May 16, 2014


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Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 7.30.20 PMI discovered the Tucco Lusso line when I spotted my very good friend Frances Broussard in a maxi dress called The Convertible. Honestly, I mistook it for a Helmut Lang, which many of you know I’m obsessed with. I was instantly taken with the ultra-luxe fabric and the flawless draping. Of course, I had to know more. Where did the designer come from? Did she study at Parsons School of Design?

Well, Tocco Lusso designer and founder Courtney Adams grew up on her family’s ranch just outside a small town of 1,100 residents in Oklahoma. It was there that she was gifted a Janome sewing machine–not long before moving to Sarasota five years ago. On that machine, she discovered her talent for fashion design, an unbelievably impressive self-taught learner. Courtney jokes, “My textbooks have been a lifetime subscription to Vogue!” Knowing this makes her impeccable collection all the more astonishing. Courtney has done everything exactly right, from her choice of fabrics to her modern aesthetic, and she’s somehow perfected a shape that works for all. I’d liken it to how a Diane von Fürstenberg wrap dress can accommodate varying body types. Tocco Lusso is a line of upscale comfortable basics that are more like elegant essentials. If that’s your thing then you’re gonna fall for Tocco Lusso in a major way.

I asked Courtney to answer a few questions about Tocco Lusso; here’s what she had to say.

TS3 I must dive right in and ask about your fabrics–they are luxuriously soft! Tell us about them…

Ah, yes, the fabric! I had to find something that was breathable, soft and was able to create the ‘flow’ I love. Thankfully, the more natural fabrics, such as the viscose blend we use, are soft and breathable.   I searched until I found the softest option that offered all of the aesthetics I was looking for.

Fabulous company name–what does Tocco Lusso mean?

Tocco Lusso means “touch” and “luxury” in Italian. I enjoy the way Italians feel about women’s bodies. Italian women are always so striking with their grace and confidence. For me, it’s a temporal understanding of beauty and grace. Every aspect of a woman can change, but at any particular point she is the most beautiful she can be. I am lucky and thankful for the opportunity to be a part of a woman’s daily experience.

Pants Group N D K I love that you kept your aesthetic modern, with clean lines. But to design that way is not so simple. How did you perfect your line?

I always go back to how the piece fits on the body. Each piece starts off with a vision in my head, and then I just start free-form cutting, pinning and sewing. I am really interested in how each particular fabric behaves on the body. I want it to flow, to be an extension of the body’s movement. My methods are time-consuming, but they are my fire, and its’ what I love. I think in circles, forget to eat or drink, speak like a mad woman to my friends about my latest idea–how the process is going, which fabric is and isn’t working. I wish I could say there is an orchestrated methodology, but that would be an egregious lie.

TS2What inspires your style and how does that inform your designs?

My style is inspired by the air and presence of women like my grandmother, similar to Jean Harlow. Their presence speaks for them. I strive to keep this in mind while making everything timeless, interesting and as comfortable as possible. I also want to make sure the female body is given a chance to show off a little, whether that be in an obvious, exposed-skin way or in the subtle way the fabric flows across the body.

What’s your favorite piece and how would you style it?

If I keep it simple, can I say two? Number one is the navy Convertible with beach curls, my gold chain bracelet and gold stud earrings with flip flips. The second is an absolute staple and I wear it every single day: In the house I will only be found in the fold-over pants and a tube top, styled with bare feet, bun on my head and a chunky bracelet just to make me feel cool.

Tell us, any future plans for Tocco Lusso that we should keep an eye out for?

There will definitely be a warmer version of the Convertible in the winter line. All of the fabrics for winter are amazing–soft and cozy! Locals can keep a look out at T. Georgiano’s in Sarasota as well as Pink & Navy on Anna Maria for previews of what is to come for TL winter!

Photos by Peter Acker

Click here to read Heather’s Fashion I.Q. in our May issue. >> TS1

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