Designer Kate Spade Talks Design Inspiration and Pet Peeves


Think Kate Spade and you may think ultra-femme designs with a whimsical punch. You’re not wrong, but let’s get one thing clear: that’s not all the designer has to offer. Ever since she—who brought you Kate Spade New York back in 1993 and who parted ways with the brand in 2007—presented us with her new line, Frances Valentine, we haven’t been able to get enough of the woman behind the stunning designs.

Lucky for us, Spade sat down for an intimate Q&A, dishing on all things design inspo, pet peeves, workplace dynamics, and (yes) her dairy of choice. Watch the video shot by Simon Hacker above, and shop our favorite pieces from Frances Valentine, below.

Courtesy of Frances Valentine

Shop it: 'Katy' Mary Jane, $395;

Courtesy of Frances Valentine

Shop it: 'Honeypot' basket bag, $195;

Courtesy of Frances Valentine

Shop it: 'Pauline' metallic mules with pom, $345;

Courtesy of Frances Valentine

Shop it: Striped shoulder bag, $345 (originally $495);


Hi. Do I look into the camera or you. Hi I'm Kate. Who am I? Welcome to our show. No, I forgot to say Frances Valentine. That doesn't make sense. You make me nervous. [LAUGH]. Hi, I'm Kate Valentine Spade of Frances Valentine and welcome to our show. Most people know me as Kate Spade, and we started the Kate Spade collection in 1993. And in 2007, we decided to take a break and spend time with my daughter. And just recently, my husband and I, and my other partner, Elise, decided, and now it's time to get back in to the business. I think there's a big difference between what I'm doing and what I did at Kate Spade. Our customer is someone who has a very personal sense of style and really is buying what they like. I think that's two I've always spoken to and I think that's always who's been attracted to my designs. People will ask what does luxury mean and I think it means a lot of sleep [LAUGH]. People always ask me, where do you find inspiration. And I think, that's always, I found, a very difficult question to answer, because I don't, I think everywhere, I don't purposely go to certain museums or certain places to find inspiration. I actually find it in everyday life. It's depending on my mood. Shape has always been shape important to me. I love very strong. Geometric shapes so that's for me very simple beginning to the process. [MUSIC] New York has had a huge influence. There's a little bit of chaos that always makes fashion a little bit interesting and New York definitely has that. We do have an office in Milan and that's where Palo who's my counterpart in design and we have to talk every day. We do a lot Skype show design on the computer and it's all very new to me that I'm loving it. The most fun thing about what I do, I would say is working with friends and family. And what's the most challenging part? I would say the most challenging part is working with friends and family. I'm kidding. [LAUGH] Elise, do you wanna stop talking? [LAUGH] The countries that inspire me the most, obviously, the United States, Paris, France, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Tokyo, Japan. Fall or spring? Fall personally, spring design. Dogs, ducks, [UNKNOWN], tennis, chartreuse, tomato. Potato. I'm Kate Valentine Spade at Frances Valentine. [MUSIC]
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