Saturday, January 19, 2013

Kate Spade Meets Pop Art

How happy I was to see that Kate Spade's theme for the month of January was "a pop of color," kicking off their overarching 2013 mantra of "things we love." I'm all about Kate Spade and all about color, so those two things alone were enough to get my heart racing. But what's more is that yet again, Deborah Lloyd, Brad Goreski and crew continue to amaze.

They take the idea of "pop" to a deeper cultural level, not only using the word to express the bold use of color, but to reference American pop art.

Pop art, short for–you guessed it– "popular art," was dominant in the United States in the 1960s. Subject matter featured primarily common household products and other products of mass consumption (example: Andy Warhol's Campbell's soup can). The overall movement was about creating art by using objects that were recognizable to the masses and through commercial techniques like silk-screening. These tactics of familiarity bluntly rejected the historical and classical subjects of traditional art.

The most particular influence in a number of accessories comes from Roy Lichtenstein, an American pop artist who lived from 1923-1997. His most recognizable works are his paintings that resemble comic strips from newspapers. Both his subject matter and technique mimic the iconic comic style: he creates cartoon-like figures and characters, uses a basic color palette and constructs his pictures from Ben-Day dots. 


His use of found, mass-produced subjects serves to make a bold statement to and about society. Ideas and methods that were downright taboo in previous art circles were accepted and exhibited in the finest of galleries. He managed to bring a newfound youthful and ironic feel to the art world by introducing commercial sources as fine art,  perhaps to say that we need not take ourselves too seriously.


Which brings us, full circle, back to Kate Spade, where "crisp color, graphic prints and playful sophistication are hallmarks." Surely our pal Roy would approve, right?