Kate Spade Saturday chooses Tokyo for its first flagship

by Danielle Demetriou

Special To The Japan Times

Sleeping in. Breakfast in bed. Sunny brunches. Strolls in the park. Laid-back afternoon tea. Cocktails at sunset. Decadent late nights.

Saturday — the word brings to mind a flurry of images associated with the first day of the weekend and the chances are, they will all be fun, relaxing and pleasurable activities.

It is this laid-back Saturday spirit that inspired the creation of a new lifestyle brand — Kate Spade Saturday, which brought a splash of sunshine yellow to Omotesando in Tokyo last weekend with the launch of its first flagship store.

Saturday is the bold little sister of Kate Spade, the New York label long famous internationally for its high-quality, brightly colored and patterned handbags.

Despite its American roots, it was in Japan — home to Kate Spade’s biggest non-U.S. market — that the company decided to officially launch the Saturday brand with the opening of its first stand-alone store.

The Tokyo flagship opening coincided with Saturday launching internationally online, tapping into a new generation of global tech-savvy shoppers. There are also six more stores planned for Japan and three for Brazil by the end of the year.

“Japan is the oldest international market for Kate Spade New York,” Theresa Canning Zest, creative director of Kate Spade Saturday, told The Japan Times. “We have been here for more than 15 years. So the brand awareness and affinity is very strong here. Therefore, it made sense to launch another brand with the Kate Spade name in it here first.

“Japan is also a very directional market; they set trends and are known for their love of new ideas. We loved the idea of creating some desirability in the United States by saying you could only get the brand in Japan first.”

The new flagship boutique, located on Cat Street just a short stroll from Omotesando, is an unmissable splash of the brand’s signature yellow both inside and out, from its two-story facade to its interior floors, walls, signage and swirling staircase. The sunshine-bright backdrop perfectly complements the playful brightness of the products, which range from striped monochrome dresses and utilitarian canvas bags to playful fabric chain necklaces and canary yellow multi-pocketed tops.

In addition to the apparel are some quirkier inclusions — fun products, such as a natural canvas zip bag containing a modern tic tac toe game, and a space where shoppers can digitally custom design their own Weekender bags

Highlighting the social aspect of Saturdays, a casual standing cafe sits in the heart of the second floor, serving Sigmund’s pretzels and an array of yellow beverages, including Corona beer and bottles of lemonade.

The Saturday brand may be more casual and affordable than the original Kate Spade label, but even a cursory glance inside the new flagship confirms that it clearly belongs to the same family as its upmarket sister, with its aesthetic of modern monochrome prints and splashes of vibrant colors.

“Saturday is the best day of the week everywhere in the world, and the idea behind the brand is to channel this spirit of Saturday, seven days a week. It is a global lifestyle brand, carrying apparel, accessories and product for the home,” Canning Zest explains.

“The line is much more casual and laid-back than Kate Spade New York — more utilitarian, functional and versatile — with more accessible price points.

“It is designed to attract a younger customer with less disposable income and a more casual lifestyle. The target customer is a young woman, 20-35, who is stylish and digitally savvy.”

Describing the flagship itself — which takes new product deliveries every Saturday — she adds: “The stores are designed to celebrate the social side of shopping. We want to make shopping fun and easy. The flagship is a fun, optimistic setting.”

For the design team behind the brand, Japan is not only a major retail opportunity but also a source of ideas.

“We are very inspired by Japan,” says Canning West. “The Japanese have very specific points of view and a very refined aesthetic sensibility. The general culture is aesthetically driven, much more than in the U.S., and this translates into how they dress themselves.

“We like Japan’s minimalist sensibility, it is a great base for strong color and print. We take regular trips to Tokyo for inspiration.”


Tops, frocks, totes and teapots

Here are a few of the items that caught our eye at Kate Spade Saturday.

Six-Pocket Ponte Top: A boxy cut top with large upturned pockets looped around the base, best in its signature sunshine yellow. ¥6,195

Striped Slip Neck Pont Dress: A long-sleeved monochrome dress in black-and-white stripes — horizontal on the body and vertical on the pockets. ¥17,325

Weekender Bag: Signature canvas bag, with curved lines and an array of fabrics to choose from. ¥18,375 (from ¥34,545 for customized versions)

Saturday watch: Bright, poppy wrist watches in bold patterns and colors. ¥6,195

Big Tic Tac Toe: A canvas zip bag containing a fabric board and giant black-and-yellow plastic noughts and crosses.

The Everyday Teapot: Retro monochrome pot with a white body and curvy black top and base.

Kate Spade Saturday: www.saturday.com.