KATE PICKS BRYCE: For the first time in the company’s 18-year history, Kate Spade will feature a celebrity in its advertisements, beginning this spring. The actor in question, Bryce Dallas Howard, also happens to be a brand devotee. “The Kate Spade offer came up and I kind of lost my mind. There’s something about that brand that, from a young age, I really, really, really connected with. It was always the thing I wanted for Christmas…since I was 15 or 16,” said Howard. “It represents a lifestyle that I always really loved.…It’s my first experience [in an ad campaign]. But I wouldn’t have been good otherwise.…It just would have been obvious if I weren’t into the brand.”

This story first appeared in the January 3, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Deborah LLoyd, president and chief creative officer of Kate Spade, said, “We’ve been looking for someone to have a partnership with, as opposed to a flirtation. We loved her, and that she grew up with the brand.…She’s not just a pretty face. She’s a multitalented woman, which represented the brand very well.”

The quirky, neon-hued advertisements feature Howard in head-to-toe Kate Spade (“except for the nail polish,” said Lloyd) in playful poses on roller skates, riding a bike and shouting into a bullhorn. “It was so much fun, it was all the things that I like to do: bike riding, a lot of dancing, hopping around, being playful and fun, and nothing felt at all staged,” Howard insisted.

The ads prominently display the company’s latest handbag silhouette, the Scout satchel, in various bright hues and sizes.

Beyond her modeling duties, Howard has a full schedule as of late, thanks to her toddler son, Theodore, in addition to the four films she’s starring in, writing and producing.

UPDATE ON A DEAL: The sale of Ittierre to Albisetti was expected to be finalized on Friday, although the latter may have to accept the Just Cavalli license decamping to Renzo Rosso’s Staff International with the new year, according to sources. Also, it appears Ferré’s new owner, Prodos Capital Management LLC, is looking for a new industrial partner as Samsung is no longer in on the deal. Details could not be learned at press time.