You wouldn’t think that a fashion designer would hang out in a surgical theatre, or that she’d find similarities between looking at an X-ray and designing a collection.
But Kate Spade New York’s artistic director, Nicola Glass, is full of surprises. An identical twin, she grew up in a medical family in Northern Ireland, but chose to go to art college to study jewellery design, teaching herself to make handbags at the same time. After a detour teaching in the Philippines, Glass landed accessory design roles at Gucci and then Michael Kors. She was given the big job at cult American brand Kate Spade New York in 2018, overseeing its first-ever New York Fashion Week catwalk show last September – only three months after brand founder Spade’s tragic death (she had sold her stake in the company in 2006). Since then, Glass has sensitively overseen a total house revamp, a cool new look for ready-to-wear, and the launch of some hit bags – plus fashion editor-approved boots. Here, she tells us about why she could never be a doctor, her love for lilac and a whole lot more…
Tell us a bit about your background.
‘I grew up in Northern Ireland and went to school in Belfast. All my family (apart from my mum) were radiologists – my dad, twin sister and brother. But I always liked making things; art was my favourite subject. I hated biology.’
And that’s key for a medical career!
‘Yes! But I remember that when I was little, my dad sometimes used to take us to hospital with him. Back then, the radiographer would have to develop the X-rays in a dark room, and I was intrigued by that. My siblings loved watching and helping, too, but I guess I was taking something else from it.’
You were seeing it more from an artistic, photographic side?
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