Fashion / Style

Kate Spade’s Sparkle is Remembered in Touching Runway Show that Heralds a Disney Collaboration: Tragic Suicide Gets Addressed with Glitter and a Heartfelt Note

BY // 10.17.18

NEW YORK — When fashion designers sell their companies, the public often forgets all about them. But Kate Spade was different.

Spade, who revolutionized the handbag business with sophisticated and sassy offerings coveted by a generation of young women and later expanded her brand to include a wide array of clothing, jewelry and other accessories, sold her namesake label, Kate Spade New York, in 2006 and had little to do with the company from that point. But even so, her name remained inextricably associated with the brand.

So when new Kate Spade creative director Nicola Glass presented the label’s first-ever runway show at New York Fashion Week, the spirit of the founder permeated the occasion.

There was a touch of sadness as the gathering came a few months after Spade died of an apparent suicide in her New York apartment. To salute Spade, a bubblegum pink card with the words “She left a sparkle everywhere she went” was left on each seat.

The back of the card read, “In loving memory 1962-2018.” And a trail of glitter dotted the runway.

Long before Spade’s death, the label had opted for a full-scale runway show to introduced new designer Glass rather than the stylized presentations of previous seasons. It turned out to be a fitting memorial to Spade, emphasizing the impact she had had on women’s fashion and her continuing legacy.

The spring/summer ’19 collection retains the Kate Spade spirit with playful prints and quirky floral patterned dresses in saturated colors, pastel mid-calf pants and blouses with oversized sleeves, pale trench coats with contrasting herringbone lapels, bejeweled jacquard party dresses, and two-tone cardigans.

Of course, accessories remain a focal point, and Glass has incorporated a spade — the kind you would find on a deck of playing cards —  into many designs in a tribute to the founder. Crossbody bags are marked with a single spade lock in a contrasting color, leather bucket bags feature an interlocking spade pattern, and tiny clutches are marked with a floral spade design.

Glass is also retaining the playful Kate Spade spirit in a new collaboration with Disney that will debut at the entertainment giant’s theme parks later this month. So far, two items from the Disney x Kate Spade collection have been revealed. A tote bag is emblazoned with the famous Peter Pan quote, “All you need is a little faith, trust, and pixie dust,” while a wristlet clutch is marked with the words, “We have made the fairytale fashionable again.”

Both items have the signature Kate Spade block lettering and a glitter panel.

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