When Katherine Noel Brosnahan arrived in New York, she had only $2 in her pocket – the fact that has influenced her simple yet elegant and non-pretentious designs. After being the Fashion Editor at Mademoiselle Magazine, Kate started her own handbag company with her husband, Andy Spade, introducing boxy, nylon tote purses, carrying the small, rectangular signature label. The groundbreaking blend of Kate’s first name and her husband’s last name created a new line of handbags that made simple and understated chic.
Kate Spade handbagsThe principal features of Spade’s style are unusual colors and fabrics that people typically aren’t used to see in handbags: such as white terrycloth, wool plaid, yellow linen or seersucker. Spade managed to make her accessory the ideal exclamation point – playing with bright colors and queer shapes (Kate single-handedly brought the ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ whicker basket/handbag into the New York style scene and made it desirable and funky).
American trendies seem to get the punch line. Three years after Spade started her company, the Council of Fashion Designers of America honored her in 1996 as America’s New Fashion Talent in Accessories, and in 1998 the CFDA named her Accessories Designer of the Year.