Shops in Sloane Square and Covent Garden represent the company’s first permanent retail presence in the British capital—and the new locations are already winning fans.
‘I love it. I have to say, it’s my favourite Kate Spade store,’ Creative Director and Co-President Deborah Lloyd told ELLE from her perch in the Sloane Square store. ‘I’m reclining on a gorgeous midcentury modern turquoise sofa, thinking, “I want to move in here.”’
The label known for its fresh-faced, retro-preppy clothes and classic handbags started 18 years ago as a handbag line. Its bright, optimistic vision of ladylike dressing has drawn the fancy of Zooey Deschanel and Emma Roberts. Despite recent inroads into the British market by American style stalwarts such as Banana Republic, J.Crew and Anthropologie, Lloyd said she expects the brand to appeal to UK shoppers hungry for something spirited.
‘Bringing it here, we see it through fresh eyes. It’s the wit and the whimsy and the colour, the irreverence that sets us apart. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and it’s great to see that through the London girl’s eyes.’
Kate Spade tested the London retail waters with a pop-up store last year. The Covent Garden townhouse site had the feel of a much cooler friend’s flat, with its hodgepodge of vintage mirrors, wallpaper-backed wardrobe doors and book-filled fireplaces. ‘My father was there. He helped us wallpaper one of the cabinets,’ Lloyd said. ‘This is a little more professionally done; it’s a little more sophisticated.’
Whereas the floors at the Sloane Square store are marble, not stencilled, painted wood, the store retains the sense of hand-hewn attention that charmed visitors to the pop-up. Products exclusive to London abound: the London/New York tote bags and notebooks are back, along with an enamelled ‘London Calling’ bangle and gold-foiled five borough coasters.
Although New York is part of the brand’s name, Lloyd sees London as the future of the business. It’s a gateway to Europe in the Middle East, she said, and her team couldn’t wait to bring its message to the UK—hence the two stores at once.
‘We just wanted to get London open,’ she said. ‘We decided to go big or go home.’