For her debut as Kate Spade’s creative director, Nicola Glass wanted — imagine! — the clothing to be the center of attention.
“We chose the runway because we wanted to make it about the product, first and foremost, and have all the other noise fall away. The collection needed to be seen in movement,” said Glass, on the morning of her Spring 2019 fashion show, which was held at the New York Public Library.
It was a departure from the party-style presentations favored by Glass’s predecessor, designer Deborah Lloyd. Last September, Lloyd’s spring collection was shown at the Grand Central Oyster Bar alongside a live jazz band and palm-leaf plants. The models, positioned in a far corner of the restaurant, paraded through the crowd in 20-minute intervals. Guests had to fight their way to the front to view the immobile handbags, or they could simply sip mimosas apart from the crowd, raising an arm to share the madness on Instagram Stories.
Returning to the runway, the traditional show format, is a signal designers are throwing their hands in the air and deciding enough is enough. Maybe models stomping the catwalk aren’t as prime for social media as a decked-out presentation, but show guests are sharing the action anyway. For Glass, the runway represents a clean slate for her collection of ready-to-wear and handbags to do the heavy lifting. Other brands, like Milly, which held a presentation-format show for its last collection within a temporary consumer pop-up store, also chose to go back to the catwalk for Spring 2019.
For Glass, the runway also served as a solitary moment for the clothing and the bags to have in the spotlight, away from the many other Kate Spade-branded products.
“The hardest part is finding the time for every category,” said Glass of her new role. Previously, she had more focus, designing jewelry and handbags for Gucci and then Michael Kors. “There are 30-some product categories, from tech accessories to bridal to homeware. All of those items need to be supported by one artistic vision.”
The average customer may be wielding more fashion week influence than ever before, but that doesn’t mean designers are going to bend to their whims.
5 questions with… Milly’s Michelle Smith
Who did you design for this season?
I design for a woman who wants to feel powerful, vibrant, confident and amazing. My thinking is: Who doesn’t want to feel that way?
You’re back on the runway after doing a presentation last year. Why the change?
I love changing formats. I’m always moving, always evolving, and I think for this particular collection, Metamorphosis, the runway show seemed really appropriate and exciting. I love that nine-minute, boom, quick burst of energy.
What was your mindset going into this season?
I was thinking: I need an energetic transformation to be my best self this season.
How do you cut through the noise?
I meditate and exercise a lot.
Is the runway today for the buyer or the customer?
The runway show today is for both, and as designers we have to be thinking about that, but in a smart way. You play to both sides. Today, my collection is for spring of next year, so the buyers will get the full view. But the T-shirts you’ll see in the show are on sale right now.
“I’m so over this. Can we just hide in here and then go home?”
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