Gabriella Crespi was an apt muse for Tory Burch. True, Burch has yet to abandon her wildly successful career for a 20-year spiritual retreat to the Himalayas, as the star Milanese designer of furniture, interiors and jewelry did before staging a comeback last year at age 93. Yet she found ample aesthetic common ground with Crespi, an originator of boho chic who has spent her life in Milan and India, to mine for a great pre-fall collection.

“She’s a pretty cool lady,” said Burch of Crespi during a preview. “I really admire her work, particularly her furniture, which was really about high-low and working with wood, brass and Lucite.” Burch’s mood board was littered with images of Crepsi and her designs, elaborate Indian embroideries, Milanese motifs, and chic women in both locations, including Burch and her stepdaughters in a Milanese palazzo. The rich textures, patterns and mix of Italian and Indian influences were filtered through Burch’s approachable American sensibility for a result that flaunted impressive craftsmanship. The threadwork and detail on a jacket with elaborate, softly colored Indian embroideries was beautifully executed. Humble cotton voile was elevated in a long gown with exotic embroideries for a look that could be filed under boho but didn’t feel generic. There were neat, boxy jacquard jackets and flared denim in traditional blue washes and deep marigold. The tunic, one of the roots of the Burch empire, got the royal treatment on a long linen dress with appliquéd leather.

Accessories were derived from Crespi’s nature-inspired maximalism, including porcupine quill earrings; spikey goat-fur shoes, sandals with carved wood heels and a fleet of crafty bags done in mixes of wood, brass and shell.  

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