Fashion designer Kate Spade has reportedly died at the age of 55. The tragic news broke today, with police confirming that Spade died at home on Tuesday morning. She is survived by her husband, Andy Spade, and their 13-year-old daughter, Frances.
— kate spade new york (@katespadeny) June 5, 2018
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Spade began working as an accessories editor at Mademoiselle Magazine in 1986 while she was dating Andy Spade. The pair later married, and Kate left the magazine in 1991, launching a handbag company from their New York apartment in 1993. Starting with six staple designs that represented purses Spade thought every woman should own, she created her signature boxy purse style, with stripes and pops of colour as the main change from season to season.
In 1996, Andy quit his job in advertising to work full time with his fashion designer wife. By 1999, the line had become so popular that the Spades sold 56 per cent of the business to American chain Neiman Marcus for $33.6 million. The Spades eventually sold the entire brand to Liz Claiborne in 2007 so that the couple could spend more time with their daughter. The Kate Spade line continued to grow, with Coach acquiring the company for $2.4 billion in 2017.
Continuing their work in fashion, Kate and Andy started the Frances Valentine shoe, handbag and accessories company in 2016, naming the line after their daughter.
Spade leaves behind a legacy as one of the most influential designers of the last 30 years, receiving the award for America’s New Fashion Talent in Accessories and Best Accessory Designer of the Year from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Her purses have been a staple in pop culture, appearing on screen in Gossip Girl and The Devil Wears Prada and finding many celebrity fans like Pippa Middleton, Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, Lucy Hale, Elisabeth Moss, Jamie Chung, Issa Rae, Jennifer Morrison and many more.
Following the news of Spade’s death, many friends and fans of the celebrated designer have begun expressing their condolences and sharing memories of Spade’s work on social media.
Rosie O’Donnell tweeted a message of support to Spade’s brother in law, actor and comedian David Spade, who often speaks lovingly about his sister-in-law in interviews and in his 2015 autobiography, Almost Interesting: The Memoir. Spade was also aunt to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and House of Cards actor Rachel Brosnahan.