Kate Spade has always stood for optimistic femininity. She defined her unique style to be synonymous with joy. She approached her designs with polish, thoughtful details, and a more modern, sophisticated use of color. She was also a fan of accessorizing with abandon!
Kate Spade came to New York via Missouri and Arizona. She became the Senior Fashion Editor and Head of Accessories for Mademoiselle magazine. She was frustrated when she went looking for a utilitarian but fashionable handbag. She decided to design her own and she began to make paper samples held together with tape. She found a manufacturer in New York who would work with her and make the six different bags.
These handbags became quite popular, with her use of color, sleek designs, and a unique fashion statement of her labels on the outside of the purse, and her pricing scheme – they were affordable. To buy a Kate Spade handbag was seen as a coming-of-age story for young working women.
She built her brand on the appeal of apparel and accessories that made her customers smile. She put her heart and spade into each piece, the spade very apparent in some items and quite hidden in others.
She soon expanded her brand to include ready-to wear apparel, jewelry, shoes, fragrances, and giftware. She approached all of her merchandise designs with the same sense of sophistication and style. Her collection of designer jewelry goes from gold jewelry and fashion jewelry, like statement necklaces and cuffs, to dainty jewelry, including delicate pendants and studs. The jewelry is made to layer and play and create a statement look that is as unique as the wearer.
To help expand her label globally, she sold a majority share of her business to Neiman Marcus Group. Several years later she sold the rest of her company to Neiman Marcus, who then sold the label to Liz Claiborne, Inc. Almost 10 years later Coach, Inc. purchased the label and both Coach and Kate Spade are part of Tapestry, Inc.
Kate Spade also dedicated herself and her company to the promotion of economic equality for women. The Kate Spade & Company Foundation gives over $1 million a year to support underserved women across the globe. They focus on economic empowerment, opportunity access, and mental wellness programs.
Sadly, the bright light that was Kate Spade went out in June of 2018. The current Creative Director of Kate Spade New York, Nicola Glass, has evolved the brand somewhat but still honoring the brand origins and maintaining the optimistic femininity. Each piece is still thoughtfully designed to celebrate the wearer’s individuality. “Kate Spade New York continues to celebrate confident women with a youthful spirit.” stated CEO and Brand President Liz Fraser.