FOR KATE SPADE’S 25TH ANNIVERSARY, THE BRAND’S NEW OWNER, TAPESTRY, INC. PRESENTS THE ICONIC “SAM” BAG IN NEW STYLES AND COLORS, ALONG WITH SASSY BEACHWEAR AND ACCESSORIES
BY HUNT ETHRIDGE
After working at Mademoiselle for five years, Kate Spade (nee Katy Brosnahan) fresh from the University of Kansas and Arizona State University and with the firm intention of continuing as a journalist noticed that her magazine’s pages and the market more broadly were bereft of stylish and sensible handbags that didn’t break the bank. So, she browsed flea markets and thrift stores to find inspiration, and after creating her first bag and seeing the response, her husband, Andy, withdrew $35,000 from his 401K account to fund production. The pair launched Kate spade handbags (its letters intentionally lower cased) in 1993, and success followed almost immediately. Company offerings briskly expanded to jewelry, shoes, clothing, stationery, eyewear…even baby items and fragrances, and by 1996, the now Kate Spade brand had opened its first boutique in SoHo and a 10,000 square foot headquarters on West 25th Street. By 2006, revenue was almost $100 million. Now it operates all over the world (180 stores internationally), has multiple offshoot brands (including Jack Spade), and was just purchased last July by Tapestry, Inc. (formerly Coach, Inc.) for a whopping $2.4 billion. Not bad for a little handbag company that started with nothing!
With the purchase of Kate Spade, Tapestry, Inc. looks to be positioning itself as a competitor to Europe’s LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE) com posed of more than 60 brands, including Fendi, Dom Perignon, and Christian Dior. Kate Spade is now the third lynchpin in Tapestry’s burgeoning conglomeration, along with Coach and Stuart Weitzman.
In the second quarter of 2018, Spade sales dropped 7% from pre acquisition numbers, partly due to Tapestry’s strategic decision to reduce Kate Spade’s wholesale disposition and online flash and promotional sales. This scaling back indicates that the company is looking to keep the brand as more of a luxury icon and less affordable staple. But, Tapestry explained in a press release, it is committed to maintaining Spade’s now 25 year history of “simple silhouettes with clever details and crisp palettes one that established a visual shorthand for a New York brand that is recognizable the world over,” with Tapestry CEO Victor Luis adding that there is “…virtually endless growth potential in North America and globally.”
In part to celebrate its quarter century birthday, Kate Spade has brought back its groundbreaking “sam” bag, but this time in a broader bevy of colors and sizes. In nylon, with leather and smooth leather trim and a matte lining, the satchel style offers zipper closure, an interior zipper pocket, dual interior slide pockets, and attachable straps to transform it into an elbow bag. (Starts at $298.)
An increasingly pro table part of its fashion line, Spade’s swimwear collection offers a nod to the polka dot craze of winter’s runways. e Anna Maria Island Convertible Top features a molded cup (80% nylon, 20% spandex), is rouched at the center, and offers convertible and adjustable straps. It’s paired with the Anna Maria Island Classic Ruffle Bottom (the set is $168).
No suit is finished without sunglasses, and Kate’s Genice frames are the perfect complements to the Anna Maria with a cat eye and a dramatic, glamorous look. Best for oval, square, and heart shaped faces ($160).
Kate Spade New York
1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills
973.376.6120 / katespade.com