This Kate Spade Collector Stopped Counting After She Hit 500

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Photography by Colin Gaudet for 21 MGMT. Hair, Dylan Cruickshank. Makeup, Brittany Sinclair for Hermès/P1M.ca

Maria Jurewicz wears what makes her happy. And what brings her the most joy? Whimsical clothes and accessories by the New York-based brand.

If you live in downtown Toronto, chances are you’ve spotted Maria Jurewicz on her daily commute. “I’m not a normal person walking around the city,” she jokes. But perhaps it just depends on your definition of normal. For Jurewicz, a strategic planning director at an advertising agency, a typical ensemble usually involves a vibrant bow-adorned coat, a campy novelty bag and a matching set of jewellery — mere hints of her massive Kate Spade collection. “I stopped counting at 500.”

Born in Ottawa and raised in Florida, Jurewicz grew up in a design-oriented household. While both of her parents are architects, she credits her mom with introducing her to the wonderful world of fashion. “She always made an effort to dress me up,” shares Jurewicz.

Throughout school, Jurewicz took great delight in colour-coordinating her outfits and matching her backpack, lunch box and even agenda to her clothing of choice. But her true Elle Woods moment came when she returned to Ontario to attend Queen’s University. “When I moved back to Canada, I remember thinking ‘This isn’t how people dress here — I have to try to blend in,’” she recalls. “But then there was a pivotal moment when I realized that wearing muted colours doesn’t make me happy. It isn’t who I am, and I’m OK with that.”

Enter the Kate Spade collection/obsession. Jurewicz began a years-long love affair with the brand before eventually getting a part-time job at a retail location, which she held for nearly six years. “I love that it’s joyful and unapologetically feminine,” Jurewicz begins. “The brand commits wholeheartedly to whimsy, but it’s still grounded in classic silhouettes, which is so me.”

Jurewicz describes her style as “’50s-ad woman meets Floridian retiree”; her apartment and collection look as if The Golden Girls and Mad Men had a crossover episode. Strands of pearls are organized in vintage chip-and-dip serving trays. Fruit-inspired novelty bags sit atop wicker shelves. And almost every item in the small space is colour-coordinated, including wallpaper, kitchen utensils, bathroom accessories, garment bags and shoe boxes — all (for the most part) by Kate Spade.

“I just ate up anything the brand created,” she explains, naming the ad campaigns, books and accessories of the 2000s and early 2010s. “As a marketing student, I was in awe of how it curated this all-encompassing lifestyle, and I treated it as a litmus test of what I would find interesting.” As such, she credits Kate Spade with influencing a lot of different areas of her life: her career in advertising, her love of “fashionable women with substance,” like Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and her newly formed Poshmark addiction (though most of her pieces are still bought through the brand itself).

But it’s the “polished, bright and sometimes cheeky” feeling Jurewicz gets whenever she wears one of her hundreds of pieces that keeps her coming back for more. She recalls a recent exchange she had in her local coffee shop, where a stranger stopped to share how much she enjoys seeing Jurewicz’s bright outfits every morning. “I dress for myself and to make myself happy, but it’s also really lovely when I brighten up someone’s commute,” says the collector. Suffice it to say, she definitely brings cheer — in spades.

This article first appeared in FASHION’s March 2024 issue. Find out more here.

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