Iris Apfel, Pete Nordstrom & More Sound Off on Kate Spade New York’s Enduring Appeal

For the last 25 years, Kate Spade New York has been an American fashion powerhouse.

How does the label stand out from the pack? Top fashion players weigh in.


Iris Apfel

“Being in the Kate Spade campaign was a lot of fun. I appeared in one video about a young woman [Anna Kendrick] who got locked out of her apartment. We filmed it in Brooklyn, and they had all the big cameras as if it was a Hollywood production. I did a shoot in Central Park with Karlie Kloss, and there was an unbelievable cold snap that day. They supplied everyone with thermal underwear. Everything they did was first-class. I enjoyed everything I did with them. [As a professor at The University of Texas at Austin and head of its UT in NYC program], I took my students to visit the company, and they got a good slice of what it was like at a big corporation. It was all very organized and showed them how different companies could be. It was a good lesson for them.”

Pete Nordstrom, co-president, Nordstrom

“We have experienced great success with the Kate Spade brand over the years and have been proud to carry it across all categories.”

Pete Nordstrom

Gillian Meek, president, Keds

“Kate Spade has always stood for quality and authenticity, while being a leader in feminine, classic style. The company’s ability to stay true to that brand essence contributes to their enduring nature as a leader in New York fashion. Kate Spade and Keds share similar roots in being classic American lifestyle brands. We have truly enjoyed transforming our beloved sneaker styles through the Kate Spade New York lens of whimsy and femininity. Our glitter collection has continued to exceed expectations.”

Stephen Moore, EVP, general business manager, Center Core, Macy’s

“The products are timeless classics that are infused with a sense of whimsy and optimism. The resilient, enduring spirit of the product represents the spirit of New York. We had a preview of Nicola Glass’ and Anna Bakst’s work and are excited by how they captured its spirit of optimism and empowerment. The product speaks for itself and provides a solid foundation for the future.”

Steven Kolb, president and CEO, Council of Fashion Designers of America

“Kate Spade changed the way women — and the world — viewed American fashion through her signature playful lens on design. The brand has great recognition — and with Tapestry and [creative director] Nicola Glass behind it, it can truly become one of the great American lifestyle brands. A runway show will put the brand on par with other U.S. fashion designers and says Kate Spade is serious about clothes and not just bags.”

Gillian Meek

Steve Madden, founder, Steve Madden

“The brand is multigenerational. It embodies a modern American aesthetic and definitely speaks to a particular elegance but doesn’t come with a crazy price tag. [As the licensee of the shoe business through Schwartz & Benjamin], we treat the brand as one of our own. I unfortunately never had the chance to meet Kate Spade and was devastated over her tragic passing; I wish I had known her. Kate was a brilliant woman. Our brands gained popularity around the same time, but Kate and I were very different. She was elegant and buttoned up, and I was funky and loud.”

Eileen Tetreault, senior director of fashion strategy, Zappos.com

“Kate Spade has a deep, loyal customer base. The pieces draw people in, thanks to the unique combinations of imaginative, fun designs mixed with classic shapes and sophisticated styles. Customers love the quirky, colorful statement works of art. It is exciting that the brand is a part of Tapestry now, and we are expecting strong growth potential from the additional push of being part of a larger company.”

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content