Kate Spade New York marks 25 years of fashion with an epic journey across America.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Kate Spade New York marks 25 years of  fashion with an epic journey across America.

As expected of
Kate Spade New
York, the clothes
are made for
easy wearing
As expected of Kate Spade New York, the clothes are made for easy wearing

Tucked away in one corner of New York’s Grand Central Terminal is the Oyster Bar, a 105-year-old dining institution famous for its fresh and delectable seafood. The 440-seater’s gently curving marble columns have witnessed many a feast both grand and humble, but this morning, its interiors are covered with lush green foliage. Even the crisp clink of cutlery and wine glasses has been replaced by the boisterous strains of music from a marching band. 

“It’s our 25th anniversary so we’re kicking off with this joyous road trip across America,” explains Deborah Lloyd, the creative force steering the quirky womenswear label for the past decade. “What can be more of a perfect place to start than New York’s most famous railway station and this little gem? It’s really nice to introduce people to this place and it’s got the spirit of what the collection’s about.” 

Commuters in business suits have been replaced with models happily milling inside the restaurant dressed in Kate Spade New York’s spring/ summer 2018 collection. Regarding her last collection for the brand, Lloyd talks about flirty dresses, sporty parkas, timeless style and paying homage to a city where everything’s a celebration.

Tell us more about the new collection.

The collection’s called “Southern Charm”, and it’s inspired by New Orleans. It’s the first stop of our American tour. It’s an amazing city with so much to offer, from the Garden Districts to the magnolia trees, gorgeous Spanish mansions to the French quarters where jazz and the atmosphere make everything a party. It really brought the collection to life.

The Sam bag was
one of the stars of
the presentation
The Sam bag was one of the stars of the presentation

What’s your favourite piece from the collection?

I think one of my favourite pieces in terms of handbags is the Sam bag. As it’s our 25th anniversary, we’ve brought the Sam bag back but it’s slightly refreshed. So you’ll see it in many different iterations from our classic nylon with a little new twist, all the way through to wicker. It’s really an exploration of where we’ve been and where we’re going. You’ll meet our alligator wicker bag, which is going to be a lot of fun later, but really, it’s about the Sam bag in celebration of this 25th anniversary. 

Did you and your team have to update the design much?

It’s funny [when] you look at something and think: “Oh, it’s going to be timeless,” because nothing is timeless. We had to look at everything from the inside out because the ways bags are manufactured then and now are different. You have to look at proportion, manufacturing, finish, raw materials… So everything was restudied again. Even though it sort of looks the same, it feels modern and updated. We did tweak  the labelling on the outside—we’ve gone loud and proud with a beautiful, slightly bigger logo on the nylon that looks very fresh. 

Deborah Lloyd
Kate Spade
New York
Bag, Kate Spade New York
This is a brand that speaks to 16- and 60-yearolds. Why is it so?
I think Kate Spade New York really embraces femininity and the different facets of women. It’s very inclusive. We’re a very welcoming brand with colour, wit and whimsy. Women love Kate Spade because it makes them smile. It’s a little bit of a bright spot in their day. By offering everything, from handbags to ready-to-wear to jewellery to shoes, you talk to many women.
Drawing parallels from the train station, how would you describe your journey with the brand?
It’s been an incredible journey so far. I love the fact that this is also my celebration! It’s come a long way, but I feel that as a brand, we’ve just hit our stride. There’s so much more to do. It’s really exciting. But it’s nice to hit this milestone and say, “We’ve made it here. Where are we going next?”