On the heels of the Lululemon-led athleisure trend sweeping women’s fashion the past few seasons, Kate Spade Saturday, the designer’s lower-priced lifestyle collection of pop art-inspired apparel, accessories and home goods, is getting into the game by teaming up with legendary athletic brand New Balance on a capsule collection of performance trainers.
“Athletic footwear and apparel has made a huge comeback in the fashion world over the past few seasons, which has raised women’s expectations for style in both lifestyle and performance athletic footwear and created a great opportunity for fitness-fashion collaborations,” says Kyle Andrew, senior vice president and brand director of Kate Spade Saturday.
The companies first hooked up with a casual kicks collection with New Balance subsidiary, PF Flyers, last year. The collaboration clicked at retail. “There was interest on both sides to extend our relationship into the performance category, to appeal more to the active and fit New Balance consumer as well as the fashion-conscious Saturday consumer who also leads an active lifestyle,” explains Sarah Kopriva, strategic business unit manager for women’s fitness footwear at New Balance. She adds that the partnership delivers on what both brands’ consumers are craving right now: comfort, performance and playful styling.
That recipe comes together in New Balance’s popular WX711 trainers, which will be available in three exclusive colorways, and two iterations of the WX811, a new fitness trainer debuting in January. Retailing for $95 (a higher price point than the company’s standard models), and replete with painterly splashes, geometric graphics and eye-popping yellow accents, these sneakers may look pretty but they are built for serious workouts. Combining a Cush+ midsole, which New Balance claims is at least 13 percent softer than most lightweight performance foams on the market, TPU overlays and Fantom Tape technology, which provides strategically-placed support, the shoes can be worn casually, on a run or during a gym workout.
“As a lifestyle brand, we are entering another aspect of the Saturday girl’s life,” Andrew says, adding she envisions the collection for the customer who “has an eye for style but also expects functionality in the pieces that can take her anywhere.” She also hopes the partnership will introduce new shoppers to both brands. As an extension of the exclusivity aspect behind the collab, Andrew says distribution will be limited to Kate Spade Saturday and select New Balance stores as well as their respective websites. She also hints at future collaborations coming down the pipe, the aim of which, she says, is to “keep the collection feeling special.”