Rain is not all gray and gloom.
When we hunch under our umbrellas or scoff at a downpour engulfing us, we shy away from the joy in rain. Rain makes new beginnings. It washes away dust, dirt or whatever debris might be in its way. It gives life to plants. It pools in puddles to happily splash in.
This is the philosophy Kate Spade New York's new creative leads have infused into the Spring 2023 collection. This season marks not only Tom Mora and Jennifer Lyu's debut for the brand, but it's also Kate Spade New York's return to New York Fashion Week since the beginning of the pandemic. (Mora will head up ready-to-wear, footwear, jewelry, home and lifestyle categories; while Liu will lead handbags and accessories.)
The designers' inaugural offering is filled with bold prints, glorious raincoats, daring sunglasses and heels adorned with pompoms. A wide-brimmed rain hat, offered in a range of hues, best captures the spirit of the collection.
"It's that energy we want to bring out, that I'm going to look at this and I'm going to enjoy it and see it all and take it all in," Mora says. It's all about new perspectives — as opposed to shrugging up under an umbrella, wearing the hat gives its wearer an ability to look up and be confident in the rain.
High up at 3 World Trade Center, overlooking the bustling city, models lined up in full looks under "clouds" made up of assemblies of balloons. A soft soundtrack of sounds, including rain, played as staged rain came down behind them.
Between more functional totes and crossbody bags, special pieces like a cloud purse made of shiny metal with thin chains dangling from below, mimicking rain, stand out. The mix of utility and playfulness are key to the Kate Spade New York code. After all, Lyu argues, handbags are a highly expressive outer version of ourselves.
"Handbags hold secrets," she says. "And they help you throughout the day to have a clearer state of mind. There's a lot that goes behind the making of a bag."
The collection stays true to the essence of Kate Spade New York — one that revolves around vibrance, playfulness, fantasy, wit, femininity and New York City. Mixed prints. Waists cinched with floral belts. Fiery red and lime zest green. Structured crossbodies and shoulder bags. Pearl details and dazzling drop earrings.
"People are so unique and individual, and that's the beauty of where we're going," Mora says. "What connects all these women together is that love of joy, of color, of femininity, of self expression and confidence. Our goal is not to make women confident — she's already confident, we're just adding to it."
Before becoming Kate Spade New York's Senior Vice President and Head of Design for ready-to-wear and lifestyle categories, Mora worked at Cole Haan, J. Crew and Coach. Lyu led accessories at Tory Burch, Prada and 3.1 Phillip Lim before heading up leather goods and accessories at the brand.
"There's so much joy and rich heritage," Lyu says. "To be able to participate has been such an honor."
See the full Kate Spade New York Spring 2023 collection in the gallery below.