Talk about exciting interviews eh! As you all know all too well, kate spade new york is one of my absolute, all time favourite labels. It’s playful girlishness and penchant for very bright colours and lashings of print makes my heart sing with joy while my wardrobe increasingly resembles an homage to the brand. Getting to grill the British born powerhouse behind the collections I covet so much seemed a little surreal. But it happened so, without further ado, I bring you 5 Minutes With Kate Spade NY’s Creative Director and President, Deborah Lloyd…
LPA: Tell me a little about your background. Where did you study and work before joining kate spade new york?
DL: Prior to kate spade new york I worked at Banana Republic, and before that at Burberry. In the earlier part of my career, I held positions at brands including Acquascutum, Kenzo and Byblos. I studied at the Ravensbourne College of Art and design, and received a Master of Arts from the Royal College of Art in London.
LPA: Talk me through a day in the life of President and Chief Creative Officer of kate spade new york…
DL: No two days are the same at kate spade new york, that is what keeps me excited and inspired. Some days I am at our offices on Park Avenue reviewing sketches and selecting fabrics with our design teams, other days I am flying to exciting cities around the world for store openings and ad campaign shoots.
LPA: Since starting my blog, kate spade new york’s Chelsea Flower Show event has been one of my major spring highlights. Tell me a bit about why the brand decided to first get involved with it and, of course, your beautiful display this year…
DL: The Chelsea Flower Show is always a highlight for me. I live in New York now but I never miss the opportunity to come back to London to see the beautiful gardens. We knew that we wanted to do something over the top with our display this year. The current collection was inspired by travels to Rio de Janeiro, we wanted to go along with the theme and created a tropical display featuring a toucan made entirely of flowers!
LPA: How do you feel Kate Spade NY has changed or developed since you joined the brand in 2007? One of the reasons that kate spade new york is basically my favourite label is that regardless of whether minimalism or sports luxe or androgyny are “on trend”, it sticks to the playful, colourful, girly style it does so well and I love so much. Why do you feel this is so integral to the brand’s identity?
DL: One of the reasons I was drawn to Kate Spade new york was the brand’s optimistic spirit and its strong DNA. We think about the kate spade new york girl in everything we do. We like to say that she is quick and curious and playful and strong. She is not a wall flower, and she loves adventure and she inspires us to design product for every aspect of her life. kate spade new york has really transformed into a lifestyle brand during my time here – it started out as just handbags but has grown into so many categories including ready to wear, beauty, tech accessories, tabletop and stationery to name a few. The possibilities are endless!
How do you and your team offer up something fresh each season while still retaining such a recognisable aesthetic?
kate spade new york is unique in the sense that we inject a playful spirit into everything we do. We always incorporate strong colors and prints into each season, and we make sure that each collection that tells a story. We also pride ourselves on attention to details that make our customers smile whether its a special lining in a coat, a cheeky clutch or a line of copy on the inside of a bracelet.
LPA: I’m a huge fan of clashing prints and colours and topping it all off with statement accessories but it’s not without risks. What would be your top tip for someone who wanted to channel this kind of style but maybe wasn’t 100% confident?
DL: A great place to start is finding one statement piece that you fall in love with, then building your entire look around it. There are also subtle ways to incorporate a pop of color into any outfit, it can be a brightly coloured heel, an oversized cocktail ring, or even something as simple as a bright shade of lipstick.
LPA: What brands do you love and wear aside from kate spade new york?
DL: There are so many designers I love – Prada, Chanel and Balenciaga are a few of the brands that I have long admired. I also collect a lot of vintage pieces.
LPA: Spring may have only just arrived in London but of course, the fashion world has long since moved on to AW14! Sadly I wasn’t in NY in February but I’ve seen pictures of the collection and it’s absolutely stunning. What was your inspiration behind it?
DL: The theme behind 2014 is places to go and people to see. I am an avid traveler and always use it as a source of inspiration. For Fall 2014 our collections were inspired by travels to Asia – we specifically looked to Tokyo, Shanghai, and the Transcontinental Express.
LPA: What advice would you give to someone hoping to one day run a global brand like kate spade new york?
DL: Work hard, don’t take yourself too seriously and always do what you love.
Love Ella. X