In November 2017, Nicola Glass, previously with Michael Kors, was appointed the creative director of Kate Spade, the 25-year-old American fashion and accessories brand. In September 2018, she unveiled her first runway for the brand. A full year into her tenure, Glass recounts her earliest memories of the late Kate Spade and reveals her design process behind affordable luxury accessories:
"My first introduction to the brand was actually through magazines — just reading articles about this woman in New York and how she started a handbag brand from her apartment, I found that really inspiring. You know, Kate herself was such a trailblazer at that time. Looking back, she was one of the first people to build a business at that more accessible price point. I actually like the fact that the price point has such a broad reach.
To me, luxury is really a combination of innovation and indulgence, and by that, I mean innovation through the use of materials, new techniques, new hardware, closures, new functionalities within the accessories. And then, indulgence coming in through adding these very tactile things — whether it's sumptuous materials, beautiful leathers, and things that are going to be relevant and enduring for the customer.
At the end of the day, a handbag is a functional item, it's not just an object. So it's something that a woman, really, is almost relying on to help carry everything she needs for the day, organise her life.
I spend a lot of time with the team looking at the interior functionalities, or looking at how a closure might work. So that's super important to us. But I do think that it's also important to, at the same time — having these functionalities is a way for a woman to express herself through fashion. I'm going to be really excited when I'm on the subway and see a woman carrying some of these new Kate Spade bags. I hope they feel happy."
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