When I was in college, I had TERRIBLE taste (seriously, go back to some 2009 Facebook posts...yikes). I didn't know this at the time, but those were my formative years. I no longer lived in the comfort of my hometown, I was figuring out what I wanted in life, and thus my expression of personal style began to take form. In my college apartment I had a bulletin board. I would scour through my monthly magazine subscriptions - Lucky, InStyle, Vogue - and tear out anything that I "liked". I didn't study it, I didn't think it over, I just knew. I would rip the sheet out and collage it on my bulletin board and that was that.
Later on in my career, I would cite this as my "gut instinct". This would get me a gig at a vintage stylist, my "big break" at Gap, and later my job at Pinterest. But I didn't know this back then.
Anyway. Every season, in the midst of boho editorials with Sienna Miller and Kiera Knightley (this was the mid aughts, after all), I would always pull some Kate Spade ads. They spoke to me in a way that I couldn't articulate. To 19 year-old-me, they captured ideas of an adulthood I hoped to have. Sure they were traditionally feminine - they often showed motherhood or a sweet moment with a partner, and often in a skirt. But they were playful and irreverent in a way that style wasn't shown back then. It felt attainable? Cool. Definitely cooler than a stuffy European fashion ad, at least to me back then. After all, this was well before the days of social media and bloggers and lifestyle brands launched by failed bachelor contestants.
There was something magical and interesting that caught my eye, and it was formative to my current view of fashion and culture and hell, being an adult woman.
The news of Kate Spade's death today was of course tragic, but made me think about the influence of the brand she built, and later walked away from in 2007 (for more on her impact in fashion, check out Vanessa Friedman's New York Times piece). I think it's important pause and differentiate Kate Spade the brand from Kate Spade the woman, entrepreneur, mother and wife. But both inspired me and my career to date.
While I haven't purchased anything from Kate Spade the brand in quite some time, I went back and revisited some of her old brand imagery and man, it still has *it*. Maybe it's the oversaturation of social media and selfies and influencers, but there's something so delightfully innocent about these images, the naïveté of the era they were ushering in. It makes me particularly nostalgic and think fondly of the brand and spirit of Kate Spade.
Here's a roundup of some of my favorites. Also - blink, and you might think these are current Gucci.