Last Update: December 2015
Kate Spade, the New York designer who is 52, is known for her grown-up, slightly preppy looks. Her looks are fresh, with clean lines that make them very wearable at all ages. They can be characterized as having an optimistic American inspiration.
She loves red, especially for fall and winter. Hot pink, bright blue, emerald green and lots of black are also in her repertoire of signature colors. Her label now carries a full clothing line but she’s especially known for her accessories – bags, shoes and jewelry. Most of them work well for women over 50.
She is also known for her love of dots saying, “we’re totally mesmerized by the artfulness of polka dots – sophisticated, playful, classic, exuberant, mod…the simple polka dot never ceases to surprise and delight us. (it’s a long-time favorite!)… Many of her designs for flatware, dishes, glassware and towels feature dots. Macy’s says ” The road less-traveled is paved with polka-dots.”
Kate Spade was born in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated from an all-girl Catholic high school and attended the University of Kansas and graduating from Arizona State while working in a motorcycle bar and majoring in journalism.
In 1986, Spade worked in the accessories department of Mademoiselle magazine in Manhattan rising to senior fashion editor/head of accessories. While working for the magazine, she noticed that the market lacked stylish and sensible handbags, which inspired her to create her own. She browsed flea markets, researching different styles, fabrics, production costs, finally creating a very successful line of handbags with classic shapes, colors, and fabrics.
Kate Spade and partner Joel Franklin launched their New York-based design company, “Kate Spade Handbags”, in January 1993. As the name implies, they initially started out selling handbags, but eventually expanded to include stationery, personal organizers, address books, shoes, beauty products, perfume, raincoats, pajamas, and eyewear. In 2004, “Kate Spade at Home” was launched as a home collection brand. It features bedding, bath items, china, and various items for the home and wallpaper.
In 1996 the Council of Fashion Designers of America named her “America’s New Fashion Talent in Accessories” for her classic designs. In 1998, CFDA once again honored her for “Best Accessory Designer of the Year”. Kate Spade’s home collection won three design awards from House Beautiful, Bon Appetit and Elle Decor.
We really like the spirited, but still sophisticated feeling of her designs.
Her company, Kate Spade is a publicly traded company as KATE. Recently Kate Spade stores have opened in many smaller cities. The stock has been doing very well but recently there is some worried that the handbag sector is getting a bit crowded.
She married Andy Spade, the brother of comedian David Spade, in 1994 and her daughter was born in 2005.
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