Walking into the Kate Spade New York fall 2023 presentation at the Whitney Museum of American Art and immediately laying eyes on an exuberant Haley Lu Richardson in an electric-yellow skirt suit was, to put it simply, a vibe. It set the tone for the entire event, which involved a musical performance from the Julliard School and used the Hudson River as a backdrop.
“We wanted to harness the energy of a restart or a blank canvas. Fall always feels like the beginning, doesn’t it?”
The “White Lotus” actress’s outfit — a tonal textured blazer and skirt worn over a leopard pussy-bow blouse with matching pumps, heart huggies, and a crystal-embellished tote bag — was not just reflective of the new collection’s theme (a return to the joy of getting dressed) but also a touch quirky, like something eclectic her character Portia might choose to wear. Richardson’s dirty-blond hair was parted at the side and fastened into a relaxed chignon. Her makeup was fittingly ’60s, with a darkly lined eye, rosy cheeks, and a shiny pink lip, and she finished the look with a jet-black manicure. Kate Spade SVP and Head of Design, RTW, and Lifestyle Tom Mora revealed that Richardson and her team of stylists had the skirt silhouette altered into a mini, to evoke a more youthful mood. And that goes back to the Kate Spade design duo’s intention. Together with SVP and Head of Design, Leather Goods, and Accessories Jennifer Lyu, Mora wanted to present customers with “fall in New York.” He described it to POPSUGAR as a blank canvas — when you return to the city after a long summer and can’t wait to explore new restaurants and landmarks with friends, delighting in everything NYC has to offer.
Vibrant hues were the key element Mora and Lyu used to express the energy of the lineup, highlighting the newly minted, signature Pantone color Kate Spade Green, which exudes positivity and optimism. From the sequined suits and graphic prints to the fuzzy striped stoles and beanies, it’s obvious that dopamine dressing is largely at play this season. Of course, the bags are works of art in and of themselves, lending eye-catching shapes and textures to the vivacious Kate Spade stage.
Mora reveled in the celebration as he took in the atmosphere, telling POPSUGAR: “We walked into the space yesterday for a walk-through, and what this looked like as the sun was going down, was just, wow. Then you layer in the color of the clothing, and it’s such a special moment.” He continued: “You know when you’re just really feeling something? We’re feeling it. And it’s just the beginning.” Lyu agreed: “The initial inspiration was a vibe,” she said. “To come full circle today and re-create the vibe we were feeling and watch it come 360 feels so meta. It’s incredible as designers.”
Ahead, find out how Richardson chose her getup for the special day as the face of the brand, and read our full interview with Mora and Lyu.