Iconic Handbag Designer Kate Spade Found Dead at 55

Today the world of fashion mourns the death of one of the most iconic designers of our time. The popular Kate Spade, founder of Kate Spade New York was found dead in her Manhattan apartment early this morning at the age of 55. Spade’s body was discovered by her housekeeper. The whole case is reportedly a suicide, due to mental issues of the designer. NYPD’s Chief of Detectives, Dermot Shea gave a short report on the events that happened. According to Shea, the handbag designer took her own life in the apartment bedroom. She also left a note, but the content still hasn’t been revealed.

“At about 1010 hours this morning in the confines of the 19th precinct, members of the 19th precinct responded to an address on Park Avenue. It appears to be, at this time, a tragic case of apparent suicide, but it is early in the investigation. There was a suicide note left at the scene. I’m not going to get into the contents of that note, but that appears to be the sum total of what it is at this point. We still have detectives on the scene, it’s still a fairly fresh incident. She was discovered by the housekeeper. At this point, there was a note left. The content of that note, as well as the physical state of the apartment and the comments of the witness, lend to the credibility that it is an apparent suicide, but we’ll go from here and continue to look into the incident. In terms of contents of the note or communication with some members of the family, I’m not going to get into that.”- said NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea.

Spade and her husband Andy launched the Kate Spade brand back in 1993. Before that, the creative designer had a promising career as a senior accessory editor in Mademoiselle. She was on the way to becoming much more when she realized that it is not the path she wanted to choose. After a spontaneous conversation with Andy, the duo decided to start a handbag company. The brand dropped the first collection in 1993 and shortly after was an iconic name. The obsession with Kate Spade affected the whole world, including the biggest celebrity names you can imagine. Her husband had a great experience in advertising, which was very helpful in developing the brand.

Her designs were a real escape from reality. She wanted to make women happy, and she did for many years. Spade used a lot of vibrant colors and patterns, which wasn’t a common thing in the 90s. She instantly became the IT designer everyone wanted to wear. The couple slowly expanded to clothing, eyewear, accessories, home line, baby lines and more. When the label first introduced the nylon handbags, they became so huge that they were featured in all major fashion magazines. Kate was known for the use of sustainable materials because she wanted to make the designs affordable for everyone. The prices were perfectly acceptable, compared to all other major fashion houses.

Kate and Andy decided to sell 56% of their stocks in 1999 to the Neiman Marcus Group for $34 million. It was in 2006 when the couple finalized the sale of the remaining 44% for a reported number of $59 million. The company stayed under the Neiman Marcus Group until Liz Claiborne bought it for $124 million. In 2017, Tapestry Inc. purchased Kate Spade New York for an amazing sum of $2.4 billion. But 1999 wasn’t the end for Kate and her husband. In 2016 the duo launched a new handbag brand called Frances Valentine inspired by their daughter.

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