Fashion designer Kate Spade dead in suicide

NEW YORK — Fashion designer Kate Spade hung herself and a suicide note was found, according to the NYPD. She was found dead in her apartment Tuesday, law enforcement officials told Pat Milton, senior investigative producer for CBS News.

The officials said housekeeping staff found her hanging inside her Park Avenue apartment at about 10:20 a.m. They said she left a note at the scene. A law enforcement source told Milton that Spade was found hanging from a scarf attached to a bedroom door knob. A suicide note was found but contents of the note were not divulged. 

She was found unconscious when police arrived. They were called to the apartment by a housekeeper who found her at 10:20am. 

Spade, who was 55 when she died, created a line of sleek and simple nylon handbags in the early 1990s that created a smash. The bags were popular with the fashion set, but with more accessible price tags than those of other high-end handbags. 

Spade was Kate Brosnahan when she quit her job as an accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine to make her own line of playful and feminine bags. She worked with her boyfriend Andy Spade, who would become her husband, to launch her first collection. They combined their names for the brand’s name, but the name became her own in 1994 when she married Andy, brother of comedian David Spade. 

In 2007, Spade and her husband left the business after selling it to Liz Claiborne, Inc., now called Kate Spade & Company. By then, the handbag line had expanded into an apparel brand that sold clothing and jewelry. At Claiborne, the brand began to make bedding, legwear and fragrance, and eventually shoes, stationery, eyewear, baby items, fragrance, tabletop, bedding and gifts.

In 2016, Spade launched a new fashion line called Frances Valentine, and even changed her last name to Valentine to match the brand. She told WWD at the time of the line’s name, “Frances is a longtime family name on my dad’s side. My grandfather, father, brother and my daughter’s name is Frances. And then Valentine was my mom’s dad’s middle name because he was born on Valentine’s Day.”

Kate Spade New York has over 140 retail shops and outlet stores across the U.S. and more than 175 shops internationally. 

Just last year, Coach bought the Kate Spade company in a $2.4 billion deal, CBS New York reported.

Spade was the aunt of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” star Rachel Brosnahan. 

Kate Spade arrives at the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards in New York on June 2, 2003, at the New York Public Library.


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