Tory Burch's icons are often drawn from the arts: Celluloid swans like Romy Schneider, muse of her Spring collection, or Adele Bloch-Bauer, gilded angel of Gustav Klimt, who haunted her line last Fall. For Pre-Fall, she landed on an avatar of a more obscure sort: Gertrud Arndt, a weaver and self-taught photographer, who worked on the periphery of the Bauhaus. "I always loved her," Burch said, "and never felt she got much recognition."

Arndt's best-known works are self-portraits, the most famous of which have her in a dotted, embroidered veil. Burch lifted the dot motif for her collection: polka-dotted print mikado dresses and pleated skirts, tap shorts, and pointy-toed slingbacks. The range overall emphasized texture and graphic print, not in Burch's usually super-embellished mode, but via something darker and starker. It wasn't minimal—not with a geometric woven coat, lined in crinkle patent, worn over an abstract geometric dress—but it had a harder edge than it sometimes does. The masculine component may account for that. Arndt was a woman working in a male-dominated world; so, in her way, is Burch. She has always had a tomboy streak, but here she showed an old-world elegance that belied the kicky kneesocks and crop tops. Her wide, cropped trousers and high-neck bib-front shirts and tunics attested to that.