The chronology of Kate Spade New York — the brand, not the person — is a bit confusing. Thankfully, one of the company’s co-founders has just made a major change that will help you sort out the complicated story.
According to Business of Fashion’s Lauren Sherman, the designer formally known as Kate Spade has changed her surname to Valentine, partly in honor of a celebrated family name and partly as a nod to her new accessories line, Frances Valentine.
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The 53-year-old tells Sherman that the change is meant to differentiate what she had done in the past with what she is focused on currently. “It really was to distinguish the name, and separate the two worlds,” she said. “Obviously we’re super proud of Kate Spade and we want to be respective of both.”
Valentine left Kate Spade New York — the company which she and her husband, Andy Spade, started 22 years ago — in 2007 so she could focus on philanthropic endeavors. The kitschy and colorful brand bearing her former name was operated by Liz Claiborne Inc. before becoming a standalone public company in 2014.
Meanwhile, Spade, who also departed their company in 2007, opened the ad agency Partners & Spade as well as Sleepy Jones loungewear, and is again partnering with his wife on Frances Valentine. Elyce Aarons, who helped launched Kate Spade New York, is also a partner on the new brand, allowing the creative team to avoid investors and build the brand themselves.
Their first collection, a range of accessories, shoes (starting at $400) and bags and clutches (priced between $225 and $725) will hit retailers including Nordstrom and Bloomingdales in the second week of February.