Famed handbag designer Kate Spade has been found dead at her home at the age of 55. Spade is thought to have killed herself, reports CBS New York. The designer lived at 850 Park Avenue by 77th street in Manhattan. Her body was found at around 10:30 a.m. on June 5.
If you, or anyone you know, is having suicidal thoughts please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number on 1-800-273-8255 or go to their website here.
Spade is survived by her husband, Andy Spade, brother to comedian David Spade, the couple was married in 1994. The couple had a daughter together who was born in 2005. The New York Times reports that Andy Spade was at the scene of the apartment on the morning of his wife’s death but an official who spoke to the newspaper did not know the whereabouts of the couple’s daughter. Spade was also the aunt of House of Cards actress Rachel Brosnahan. Spade was born Katherine Noel Brosnahan in Kansas City on December 24, 1962.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Kate Spade’s Suicide Note Reportedly Told Her Daughter, ‘It’s Not Your Fault’
ABC New York reports that Spade committed suicide by hanging and that a note was found nearby. Officials have not said what was contained in the note. New York One reports that the note contained a message to Spade’s daughter. The station says the message read something to the effect of, “It’s not your fault.”
Spade hanged herself with “a scarf on a doorknob” in one of the bedrooms of their home, reports the New York Post. Later, TMZ reported that the note read, “Bea – I have always loved you. This is not your fault. Ask Daddy! The note was found on the bed close to her body.
2. Kate Spade, the Brand, Was Sold in 2017 for $2.4 Billion
Kate Spade, the brand, was sold to Coach Inc. in 2017 for $2.4 billion. Forbes reported at the time that Spade saw no money from the deal as she and her husband had completely cashed out of the company in 2006, pocketing $46.5 million. Spade relaunched herself in the fashion world in 2016 with her new brand, Frances Valentine. There are 140 Kate Spade stores in the U.S. and 175 in the world.
3. The Company Started When Andy Spade Asked His Wife, ‘What About Handbags?
Spade and her husband were interviewed by Guy Raz on NPR in 2017 when they talked about the how their company came about. Spade said, “It’s funny. You know, Andy and I were talking one night. And I just said — I was looking ahead and I saw the fashion directors. That would be your next jump from being senior fashion editor. And I thought I don’t really see myself wanting that job. So Andy and I were out, honestly, at a Mexican restaurant. And he just said, what about handbags? And I said, honey, you just don’t start a handbag company. And he said, why not? How hard can it be? (Laughter) I thought, OK, really? He regrets those words.”
Spade met her husband in 1993, the couple was married in 1994. In a 1999 interview with CBS New York, Spade explained what inspired her handbag line, “There was a lack of interesting accessories that had a personality but still very elegant and functional. And I loved the idea of using really beautiful fabrics, and I didn’t see a lot of that.”
Spade graduated from Arizona State University, where she met her husband, with a degree in journalism after transferring from the University of Kansas. Spade’s job before starting her handbag company was at the fashion magazine, Mademoiselle.
4. Chelsea Clinton Says She Got Her Fist Kate Spade Handbag From Her Grandma When She Was in College
In paying tribute to Spade, Glamor magazine tweeted a quote from a 2002 interview that Spade did saying, “I hope that people remember me not just as a good businesswoman but as a great friend—and a heck of a lot of fun.” Chelsea Clinton paid tribute to Spade tweeting, “My grandmother gave me my first Kate Spade bag when I was in college. I still have it. Holding Kate’s family, friends and loved ones in my heart.” Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump wrote on Twitter, “Kate Spade’s tragic passing is a painful reminder that we never truly know another’s pain or the burden they carry. If you are struggling with depression and contemplating suicide, please, please seek help.”
The Kate Spade Company 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.”
5. Suicide Rates Among White Women Rose 60% Between 1999 & 2014
CNN reports that between 1999 and 2014, suicide rates are on the rise in the U.S. The network cited a report from a 2016 study from the Centers for Disease Control. During that period, the suicide rate for white women rose by 60 percent.