NEW YORK — The runway at the Kate Spade show Friday morning at the New York Public Library was lined with silver glitter, and a bright pink note card left at each seat read “She left a little sparkle everywhere she went.” The gestures signified both a look back and a step forward for the fashion company and its new creative director Nicola Glass.
Its namesake had not been involved with the brand for the decade-plus since she and her husband Andy sold it. But after Spade’s death from suicide in June, the brand and the woman were linked in a cultural conversation about how both — at least publicly — represented a welcoming, feminine, joyful and self-confident approach to fashion.
Glass, who previously worked at Gucci and Michael Kors, has the mission of making sure the brand does not lose its good cheer. She took on her current position in January and started this collection by looking through the brand’s archives and the key elements that have always defined it.
The result is a collection of pink and green prints along with a palette of butterscotch and raspberry — and dresses, dresses and dresses. In keeping with the brand’s signature product, there were also a host of functional and colorful bags.
“There was a purity to the design approach that appealed to me as well as the spirit of the women in the old ad campaigns,” Glass said during an interview backstage after the show. “Kate always encouraged women to embrace fashion and feel free to interpret it in their own way.”
The collection was finished by the time of Spade’s death, but “I really took a moment to reflect,” Glass said. “I didn’t feel the need to change course because I had been inspired by her from the beginning.” But Glass took note of all the tributes to her and was moved by the repeated references to Spade’s sparkling, fizzy personality.
Glass referenced that description with the seating cards as well as “the glitter line marking the path the models took,” she says. “Metaphorically, for me, it was the idea that I’ve started a journey with this brand, but before I can move forward, I need to look back.”
Glass was, of course, wearing a dress.
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