Back in 1993, editor-turned-designer Kate Spade made a splash in the fashion world by turning out a small collection of boxy, utilitarian handbags, each elegantly accented with her name stitched in discreet, lowercase letters. As a result, the simplicity and unabashed refinement of the Spade moniker on those Lilliputian labels has come to define the very foundation on which the designer has since built a fashion empire, one that now, in addition to handbags, includes shoes, clothing, and smart home things, all of which embody the Spade formula of timeless style--a seamless merging of cheerful colors, clean shapes, and well-chosen embellishments. Not bad for a Kansas City-born girl who used to comb vintage stores for fun. Having perfected and expertly marketed her own brand of personal style (one that has famously been counterfeited throughout the world), the designer has emerged with an equally elegant trio of books whose topics Spade has become a virtual authority: Style
, and Manners
The packaging, as well as the neatly clipped advice found in Style, is as polished and sunny as the pert designer herself. Spade draws pearls of wisdom from fashion greats like Diana Vreeland and Coco Chanel, and also employs the inspiration of iconic films, books, artists, and design movements. The layout and typography, while vibrant, can be overwhelming at times and her suggestions a bit old-fashioned ("
if you have to wiggle into something, assume it won't flatter you."). But Style still stands out as a treasure in itself. From "forever" clothes like full skirts and jewel-neck sweaters to playing around with color combinations and cocktail rings, Spade has captured a place for herself in the modern fashion vernacular. And Style is a suitably chic way to celebrate her arrival. --Christene Barberich
Moving from creating handbags to dispensing advice, Kate Spade, of the eponymous fashion house, plunges into publishing with a smart little book akin to Coco Chanel's oh-so-classic little black dress. Surprisingly, her volume yields a goodly amount of verve and veracity, wit and wisdom. It begins with a few questions and answers (called "Have you ever wondered?"), which function as teasers to what lies within. The book is divided into three sections; two are filled with direct advice and the third is a collection of miscellany The advice is classic and always in the best of taste. Barbara JacobsCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved