Fashion designer Kate Spade has died in an apparent suicide, according to law enforcement officials. As reported by the Associated Press, Spade was found dead in her Manhattan apartment Tuesday morning. She was 55. According to officials, a housekeeper found Spade hanging in her bedroom in her Park Avenue apartment. A note was reportedly found at the scene, but officials did not reveal any further details.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri as Kate Noel Brosnahan, Spade is widely known for her eponymous brand, which she founded with her husband, Andy Spade (the brother of actor David Spade), in the 1990s. The couple, who married in 1994, have a 13-year-old daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade.
Kate started her career as an accessories editor at Condé Nast before noticing a gap in the market for clean, simple, modern handbags, she said in a January interview with NPR. After three years of not turning a profit, the brand received an award in 1996 from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and its colorful creations were suddenly must-have items.
“I was looking for something that could be less serious, more personal,” she said of her inspiration in a 1999 interview with the Boston Globe. “I also wanted timelessness.”The company was acquired by Neiman Marcus for $125 million in 2007 and Kate and Andy stepped away from day-to-day operations. Then, it was sold again in 2017 to Coach’s Tapestry Inc. for $2.4 billion.
The brand currently has 140 stories in the United States and an additional 175 retail outlets around the world. A representative for Kate Spade Inc. said in a statement, “We at Kate Spade New York just learned of the incredibly sad news that Kate Spade has passed. Although Kate has not been affiliated with the brand for more than a decade, she and her husband and creative partner, Andy, were the founders of our beloved brand. Kate will be dearly missed. Our thoughts are with Andy and the entire Spade family at this time.”
Kate launched another fashion brand, Frances Valentine (she changed her name to (which she later changed to Katherine Noel Frances Valentine Brosnahan Spade), in 2015 which specializes in handbags and shoes. Many designers and celebrities have taken to social media to share memories of Kate, her iconic designs, and send their condolences.