It’s a conundrum faced by any designer stepping into the shoes of an icon: how to stamp your own fresh vision onto a label while staying true to the spirit and soul of its namesake founder.
But that fine line is one Nicola Glass has walked ingeniously in her new role as creative director at 26-year-old fashion brand Kate Spade New York.
The British-born designer’s first collection for the much-loved brand is a celebration of colour, unique designs and playful, feminine pieces inspired by the 1940s and ‘70s. In terms of signature motifs, too, Glass went back to the most obvious – the iconic Spade logo – integrating it into patterns and functional bag closures.
The message to fans of the label is clear: Kate Spade New York is as ‘girlie fun’ as ever but in slightly a more refined, modern, less vintage-look way.
To reiterate the point, Glass has chosen three of the most talented young international actresses-on-the-rise to front her first advertising campaign. Ozark star Julia Garner, along with Sadie Sink (Stranger Things), and GRAZIA favourite Kiki Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk), tells the story of three friends on a spontaneous girls weekend away in the images shot by big-name photographer Tim Walker.
Pattern-on-pattern backgrounds emphasised by fun wallpapers and homeware fabrics are precisely the colourful, cheeky touches fans love of the brand.
“Andy and Kate were ground-breaking when they launched Kate Spade 25 years ago,” says Glass, who has held senior design positions at Michael Kors and Gucci and is a Masters graduate from the Royal College of Art in London.
“The purity of their design approach immediately appealed to me,” says the 46-year-old designer, who leads all creative aspects of the brand, including women’s accessory and ready-to-wear design, campaign imagery and how stores appear.
The new collection, she says, is infused with a sense of delight. “It’s both sophisticated and youthful, with an air of sensuality. Details are very important to me. Our new products are intended to be experienced up close; not everything is visible at first glance.”
The late Kate Spade is famously said to have left a little sparkle everywhere she went. Looks like her successor Nicola Glass is following with a trail of rainbow colours.
Produced in partnership with Kate Spade New York