Politics & Culture

Kate Spade New York Honors Inspiring Women in Its Latest Book

Featuring icons from the past century.
Reading time 2 minutes

Jane Fonda once wrote: "The most incredible beauty and most satisfying way of life come from affirming your own uniqueness." Her on-screen persona stretched imagination with the ingénue, sexpot and tough roles she took on that addressed serious social issues with grace and humour. Cases in point: An exercise video that she made sparked a nation-wide fitness craze in the 1980s; the women's media center was her effort to increase visibility and decision-making power of women in media; she protested with Native Americans at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to stop a pipeline from crossing ancestral lands.


Iris Apfel cut classes to explore Manhattan and haggled over her first vintage find on one of those outings at the age of 11. She started out as an illustrator and writer before trekking the globe through flea markets and souks in search of artisanal pieces for her burgeoning interior design business. As fabric supplies for the late century fabrics dwindled, she co-found textile firm Old World Weavers by replicating specialised techniques with crafters from around the world. Her clients include Greta Garbo, Estee Lauder, Metropolitan Museum of Art and even the White House. Now in her 90s, her gig as the visiting professor at The University of Texas keeps her busy.

"I’ve long believed that the most inspiring and vibrant women in America — and around the world — are the ones who stand out in the crowd." – Deborah Llyod, President & Chief Creative Officer

American journalist and social political activist Gloria Steinem officially began her life as an active feminist in 1969 while covering an abortion speak-out for New York magazine, which she helped legendary editor Clay Felker start. She spent her early childhood reading books, without companionship of girls or boys her age while traveling in a house trailer with her parents. Only when she finally attended high school did that distinct segregation between the two genders become important. Her latest effort involves a documentary series that explores violence against women and is backed by a team of female journalists and Vice Media. Steinem helped change the consciousness of a generation about equality.


Pat Cleveland revolutionised catwalks in the 1970s by being fashion’s first black supermodel. The halstonette was a regular at Studio 54 — but not before moving from New York to Paris as a statement against America’s racism, and coming back after Beverly Johnson appeared on the cover of Vogue. There, she modelled by day for Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Thierry Mugler and Chloé, and partied by night. She electrified the historical Battle of Versailles Fashion Show in 1973, a friendly face-off and fundraising event that pitted French designers against American ones. She also redefined beauty by being one of 10 in their collective of status-quo-changing black models.

“I believe that any woman who refuses to accept society’s preconceived notions of who or what they can be is a feminist. And, yes, I believe that any woman who cares about her appearance, her star billing and most especially her percentage of the gross, is a feminist.” – Miss Piggy



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