WHEN Nicola Glass was named the creative director of Kate Spade New York in January 2018, she had majestic ambitions on her mind - rooted in the brand’s identity, heritage and storied legacy.
She looked at the indivisible connections between the past and present before she looked towards the future in shaping the physical and the ideal womenswear for her debut Spring/Summer 2019 collection.
Here is how Kate Spade New York in a new chapter continues to evolve into a contemporary label according to Nicola Glass.
How do you translate the legacy of Kate Spade herself, at the same time, continuing what former creative director Deborah Lloyd has formatively done over the last 10 years?
Kate and her husband Andy were groundbreaking when they launched Kate Spade 25 years ago. I remember when Kate Spade took the market by storm – it combined simplicity and elegance.
Later when Deborah joined the brand in 2007, we were solely an accessories brand. She evolved Kate Spade New York into a global lifestyle brand, introducing ready-to-wear, home and much more. I’ve always been attracted to the brand’s core DNA; it’s the foundation I’ve been building on – the thread I’m pulling through. The brand has always loved the extraordinary and I interpreted that in my own way.
To what extent does your vision differ from Lloyd?
Overall, in a more modern and less retro approach with a sense of polished ease. I’ve added an air of sensuality and seductiveness, therefore, the clothes are revealing, but not in overt ways. There is a tension that’s important; it’s both sophisticated and youthful with a juxtaposition of softness and fluidity.
Bring us through the major and understated elements that feed into the Spring/Summer 2019 collection.
When I joined the brand in January 2018, I started by looking backwards before I looked forward to examine and refine the existing codes of the house and to create new ones.
One of the first things I did when I started at Kate Spade was to establish iconic design elements across all product categories that are consistent season to season, starting with the spade.
So many brands look for a symbol to define themselves, and Kate Spade has one of the strongest. I explored all types of spade treatments – both overt and bold and subtle and hidden, integrating it into graphic prints as well as functional hardware in a more refined and eclectic approach with colour.
What is important to you as a designer?
When joining a new brand and creating a new vision, it’s important to first identify the iconic design elements that you’re going to build upon from the past and evolve in a modern way.
The next step is taking these elements – whether it’s colour, print, or use of a symbol – and creating consistencies across product categories that organically flow season-after-season in a cohesive way.
The customer is on the journey with you, and I think it’s important that she understands the evolution.
Details are also very important to me. There is a sense of discovery, along with an attention to detail in the product. It creates a sense of intimacy with the person wearing the pieces, which the customer can appreciate over time. Our new products are intended to be experienced close-up; not everything is visible at first glance.
Who is the quintessential Kate Spade New York woman?
At Kate Spade New York, we see our customer as a mindset, not a demographic. She is in love with life and has a sense of realness, combined with a self-defined purpose. She sees being a woman as a strength. She’s confident and youthful at heart, regardless of her age or where she’s from.
Kate Spade encourages women to be the heroines of their own stories. The brand is a celebration of women across time zones, generations and style creeds who are living their individual lives to the fullest and believe that, together, everything is possible. It’s very inspiring.