Kate Spade and her husband, Andy Spade, a.k.a. the people who brought you Kate Spade 23 years ago (and parted ways with the brand in 2007) have been cooking up a new venture called Frances Valentine. And Kate Spade (the person, not the brand) has a very big announcement leading up to the fashion company's launch this month: She changed her last name to Valentine. Kate Valentine (formerly Spade) revealed the rationale for her name change to Business of Fashion: “We’re not trying to be cheeky or coy," she said. "It really was to distinguish the name, and separate the two worlds. Obviously we’re super proud of Kate Spade and we want to be respective of both.”
"Valentine" is by no means a random choice; it's culled from Kate's family history, actually. "Valentine was my mom’s dad’s middle name because he was born on Valentine’s Day," the designer told WWD back in November, when Frances Valentine was officially announced. (Frances, she explained, comes from her dad's side.)
Kate Valentine, formerly Spade, hasn't been involved with the namesake label she founded with business partner and husband Andy Spade for almost a decade. (Fun fact: when the couple launched the line in 1993, they weren't married yet, and Kate went by her maiden name, Kate Brosnahan. So the brand moniker was actually a mash-up of Kate's first name and Andy's last name, according to Business Of Fashion.) The duo parted ways with Kate Spade (the brand) nine years ago, shortly after it was bought by Liz Claiborne Inc. (The parent company would then become Fifth & Pacific in 2012, before changing its name once again in 2014 to Kate Spade & Co.) Following the couple's departure, Deborah Lloyd was appointed president and chief creative officer of Kate Spade; she has been with the brand since then. This new business venture brings Valentine and Spade back to some tried-and-true terrain: accessories. For its inaugural collection, Frances Valentine is focused on footwear (there are a couple of bag styles as well). The minimalist kicks sport statement accents, and the styles are expected to retail in the mid- to upper-hundreds, as reported Business of Fashion. "Before I left Kate Spade, designing shoes was the best experience," she told the publication. "I just adored the little details."