“What You Need To Know About Frances Valentine— Kate Spade’s Last Great Venture”
Following the news of Kate Spade’s untimely death, it was reported that her current accessories venture, Frances Valentine, had a surge in handbag sales as fans snatch-up mementos of the iconic designer. The renewed interest in the accessories brand, which was just established in 2016, also comes with concern: What will happen now to this promising, fledgling brand? Who will continue to steer the helm without their founder, Kate?
For now, one can only speculate; but rest assured, in just a short amount of time, Kate was able to infuse so much of her spirit into the brand. To quickly recap, here are some key details of her legacy in Frances Valentine:
“Get Back Into The Business”
In 2007, after Kate Spade and her husband, Andy Spade sold the remaining Kate Spade (the brand) shares to Liz Claiborne Inc., the couple decided to go on hiatus in order to focus on raising their daughter, Frances Beatrix. Once the young Frances grew up, and started attending school, the couple bounced back into the fashion scene, announcing a new accessories venture in 2016.
Upon its launch, there was much excitement for Frances Valentine, as it was piloted by the same hiveminds who started Kate Spade in 1993: Kate, her husband Andy, and their friend Elyce Arons.
“What’s In A Name?”
In 2016, in a sort-of business-driven publicity stunt, announced that she was legally changing her name from Kate Spade to Kate Valentine. The decision was meant to separate herself from her former namesake brand, while also bolstering the name of her new venture, Frances Valentine. Kate, whose full maiden name is Katherine Noel Frances Valentine Brosnahan, was very tactile in her choice of name.
In a Women Wear Daily interview, she remarks, "Frances is a longtime family name on my dad's side. My grandfather, father, brother and my daughter's name is Frances. And then Valentine was my mom's dad's middle name because he was born on Valentine's Day."
In another interview, Kate says her new name "makes [her] sound kind of cool, like a rap star or something. But we're not trying to be cheeky or coy. It really was to distinguish the name, and separate the two worlds. Obviously we're super proud of Kate Spade and we want to be respective of both."
“Not In Any Hurry”
When asked by the Business Of Fashion as to how Frances Valentine would differentiate from Kate Spade (the brand), Kate replied, “The biggest difference with the bags this time is that we’re doing fewer. I’m not in any hurry.”
As an independent company at the moment, Frances Valentine had the luxury of their own pace, buoyed by highly-experienced professionals and seasoned fashion veterans in their board. There was a younger, edgier look, with customers who have a more “personal sense of style”. Pricing was also slightly higher than the usual Kate Spade offereings; and unlike Kate Spade, Frances Valentine was focused more on their shoes, as was evident in their launch collection.
“I do think some people were disappointed that Frances Valentine was focused more on shoes.”, says Kate to Business Of Fashion. “Before I left Kate Spade, designing shoes was the best experience. I just adored the little details.”
At the moment, Frances Valentine primarily offers shoes and bag, made in Spain and Italy. The company has also expressed interest in venturing into jewelry eventually.
Lead photos from Frances Valentine website