The legacy of one of America’s favorite designers lives on in the reissue of Kate Valentine Spade’s iconic bag, a signature silhouette she created for the launch of her namesake brand in 1993.
One of six styles that completed the brand’s original lineup, the style was purchased by Barneys in the nineties and could barely stay in stock. “Barneys was our first customer,” says Elyce Arons, managing partner at Frances Valentine, who helped launch Spade’s original brand with her longtime friend. “It’s coming full circle to sell these here again.”
The reissued bag is being produced by Spade’s second company, Frances Valentine, and has received a 21st-century upgrade with new side pockets for cell phones. “But other than that, it’s the same bag so many women loved,” says Arons. The functional, streamlined look is a hallmark of the label, which uses durable nylon in the construction and features its signature color palette of red, green, navy, and black. The medium-sized tote is lined with black and white striped twill and completed with an interior zip pocket.
“This is an ode to Katy and where we started, so many years ago,” says Arons. “The bag is a celebration of her work, a link between the past and the future.” A true testament to Spade’s creative powers, the Kate bag—and most of Frances Valentine’s collection—feels both right now and timeless, a bag that is as coveted today as it was 20 years ago. “Katy never designed with a specific theme or seasonal inspiration, per se,” says Arons. “But she was a master at creating a feeling about her bags—women just have to have them.”
The Kate bag will be sold exclusively at Barneys for the next two months. Frances Valentine is donating 20 percent of proceeds to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a favorite charity for the New York designer.