Fashion designer and businesswoman Kate Brosnahan Spade has been found dead in her Manhattan apartment. She was 55. She is survived by her husband, Andy Spade (brother of actor David Spade) and 13-year-old daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade.
According to law enforcement officials, she died in an apparent suicide. A New York Police Department source said that the call came in at 10:30 a.m. A housekeeper reportedly found Spade hanging in her bedroom and a note was found at the scene. Officials have not revealed any further details.
Born Kate Noel Brosnahan in Kansas City, Missouri, Spade is widely known for her eponymous brand featuring colorful handbags and accessories. She started Kate Spade New York in 1993 and opened her first shop in the city three years later. In 1996, the brand received an award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America
In 1999, Spade and her husband sold 56 percent of the Kate Spade brand to Neiman Marcus for $33.6 million. Liz Claiborne acquired the company for $125 million in 2007, and Kate and Andy stepped away from day-to-day operations. The company was sold again in 2017 to Coach’s Tapestry Inc. for $2.4 billion.
Spade started her career as an accessories editor at Condé Nast. She was later a senior fashion editor at the fashion magazine Mademoiselle. Her shocking death prompted an outpouring of grief among her fans and her company’s customers.
Kate Spade New York issued a statement confirming the “incredibly sad news” of their founder’s death. The statement said, “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.”