Fashion Designer Kate Spade Found Dead

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Kate Spade, the iconic fashion designer behind one of the most recognized handbags collections and fashion lines, was found dead yesterday at her Park Avenue apartment in New York City of an apparent suicide. She was 55.

Spade, who according to New York Police Department sources, died due to asphyxiation caused by hanging was found around 10:00am by her housekeeper. There was a note at the scene that referenced bother her husband, Andy Spade, brother of the comedic actor, David Spade, and her daughter Frances Beatrix Spade.

Reports have surfaced of Spade's battle with depression over the last few years with family members, most recently her sister, Reto Saffo, indicting the creative genius, was self-medicating with alcohol, an accusation her brother-in-law and husband vehemently deny.


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Kate Spade, nee Katherine Noel Brosnahan, was born in Kansas City, MO and had often spoke of her mother's influence in her early development as a free fashion thinker. With the encouragement to dress as she felt even if it contradicted convention, Spade grew up believing in her fashion choices.

After graduating from Arizona State University with a degree in journalism she secured employment with Mademoiselle where she eventually worked her way up to Fashion Editor. Her then mentor and future husband, Andy Spade, casually and simply mentioned handbags when the two were brainstorming her next move.

The rest they say is fashion History with Kate Spade bags becoming the "it" bag of a generation who wanted collection fashion at affordable price points. Spades bags were just that. Soon they were on the runway carried by Hollywood elite and making a strong impression of Sixth Avenue. The line grew from its origins of seven bags to a multi-million, and now, multi-billion dollar market that included shoes, fashion, ready to wear and home collections.


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Spade and her husband, who were both co-owners and founders of the global brand, sold 56% share of brand in 1999 to Neiman Marcus Group for $30million and in 2006, sold the remaining 44% shares for $59million. It must have shocked both when Neiman Marcus Group sold the brand almost immediately for $124million and in the next decade, Liz Claiborne Inc., sold the company to Coach, Inc., for $2.4 billion.

Spade received the 1996 Council of Fashion Designers of America award for "America's New Fashion Talent in Accessories." In 1999 she was again awarded the Best Designer in Accessories.

Spade was survived by her husband Andy, and her daughter, Frances, brother-in-law, David, a niece, Rachel Brosnahan, as well as various other relatives. Funeral arrangement have not been made public.

 

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