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Dive Brief:

  • Kate Spade New York announced the appointments of Tom Mora and Jennifer Lyu, who will partner as the principal designers for the brand, according to a company press release. 
  • Mora now oversees the design direction for the brand’s ready-to-wear, footwear, jewelry, home and licensed lifestyle categories. He was previously the creative director of women’s and licensed product at Cole Haan and has held positions at Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Coach. Mora also was with J. Crew for 14 years. 
  • Lyu now leads design for the handbags and accessories collections. Lyu most recently was at Tory Burch where she led design for handbags and small leather goods. She has also held design leadership positions at 3.1 Phillip Lim across men’s and women’s categories including accessories, footwear and ready-to-wear. Lyu has also held design roles at Emilio Pucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada.

Dive Insight:

Nearly a year and a half after Kate Spade’s Creative Director, Nicola Glass, left the company, the brand has settled on leadership regarding its creative direction. And that means not filling the creative director position that was left behind, but rather bringing in two fashion vets. 

As part of their new roles, Mora and Lyu will be members of the brand’s Ideation Studio, which was launched last year by CEO Liz Fraser. The Ideation Studio is a group of creative leaders from design, concept and strategy, brand creative, merchandising and marketing that work together to make decisions on the company’s narrative direction. 

“The Ideation Studio is designed to enable deeper storytelling and drive collaboration across all touchpoints to meet the customer’s emotional and functional needs,” Fraser said in a statement. “It’s a reimagining of how a global brand of our size can be structured in today’s world – allowing us to lead as a community of creatives – and we’re thrilled with the traction that we’re already seeing.”

The brand was in need of a boost. A few weeks before Glass’s exit, parent company Tapestry laid out a plan for multi-year growth, which included crystallizing Kate Spade’s creative purpose. Kate Spade at that time had just reported a 12.7% decline in sales.

The brand’s pivot is working. Kate Spade’s net sales for the fiscal year ending July 2 increased 19.5% to $1.45 billion, a bump primarily driven by higher store and e-commerce sales in North America. Tapestry CEO Joanne Crevoiserat said that the brand outperformed expectations on both the top and bottom line for the year, a reflection of its progress.  

“Throughout the year, our team has been laser-focused on rebuilding the brand’s foundation and clarifying our purpose,” Crevoiserat said about Kate Spade on an August call with analysts. “We have delivered consistent results, a testament to our strong team, the solid execution of our strategic actions and the increasing traction and unique positioning of our brand,” Crevoiserat said on an August call with analysts.

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