If you’re a new designer who’s taking the reins at a legacy clothing brand you can go one of two ways: Set (proverbial) fire to the ones who came before you—changing logos and wiping out Instagram accounts—or look at the past as a jumping off point and modernize from there. Kate Spade New York’s new creative director, Nicola Glass, wisely chose the latter for her first collection shown during New York Fashion Week.
“I wanted there to be an element of familiarity,” Glass said backstage before the show. “Starting with these core DNA aspects—color, use of print—and taking them in a way that hasn’t been used before.” On the runway (the brand showed its first collection as an actual runway show this season rather than the presentations of the past), that translated to fresh color combinations like chartreuse yellow with pale lilac or maroon with navy and brown, and taking tired florals and making them more graphic and unexpected.
Pink cards with a quote from the label’s founder that read “She left a little sparkle everywhere she went,” were placed on every show goers seat, plus actual pieces of sparkle lined the pink carpet runway paying homage to Spade, who passed away earlier this year. “At that point I’d already finished designing the collection with the teams and I felt like I didn’t need to change course because I had really been inspired by her from the offset,” Glass shared. Yes, laser cut handbags, silk blouses, feminine graphic print dresses, and cheeky headscarves all say Kate Spade New York, but with an elevated touch.
“Through out all of the years of the brand, sparkle, joy, and magic, is something that’s been there,” Glass also shared, and from the looks of this collection, that legacy will live on.