It was all about the eighties at Kate Spade New York's Fall 2013 presentation. Blondie blasted in the background, hot pink ruled, and old-school taxicabs served as props. It looked like a set for Sex and the City reboot The Carrie Diaries, which takes place in 1984.
If that all sounds a bit tacky, well, it was. Irreverent would be a nicer way to put it. But in its 20th year, Kate Spade New York could give two hoots what its critics think. Because its customer is more than satisfied.
Sold to Liz Claiborne Inc. in 2006, Kate Spade New York is now the most successful brand in renamed company Fifth and Pacific's stable, which also includes Juicy Couture and Lucky Brand jeans. The reason for that is creative director Deborah Lloyd, who began designing for the company after its eponymous founder departed. Lloyd took the company's original DNA—fashion with a quirk—and spun it into a full-blown world of glamour with a sense of humor.
This season's girl wears poufy minis in lipstick prints and carries a yellow clutch emblazoned with the word "TAXI," an ideal tool for hailing a cab. She might also try a pair of tuxedo-inspired pumps on for size, if she's adventurous enough. There are also taxi-inspired heels, sparkly lip sunglasses, and a sweatshirt featuring a sprinkle donut.
Lloyd's instincts have served the brand well. "My eyes are constantly open," she says. For a certain kind of girl, Lloyd is a barometer of what's cute and fun. And while that might not be the height of fashion, it is a convincing point of view.