- Kate Spade was found dead at the age of 55 in her Park Avenue apartment on Tuesday
- The designer left a note before taking her own life by hanging and was discovered ‘unconscious and unresponsive’ by her housekeeper just after 10am
- She is survived by her husband Andrew, who is the brother of actor David Spade, and her 13-year-old daughter Frances
- Spade shot to fame when her eponymous line of purses became the it bag for women in the late 90s and early aughts
- She sold the remaining shares in her company to Neiman Marcus in 2006 and devoted herself to raising her daughter
- In 2015 she reentered the fashion world with her new line Frances Valentine, and changed her name to Kate Valentine
PIONEERING fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead in her New York apartment after committing suicide today, police confirmed.
Spade, 55, who built a fashion empire on her signature handbags, was found hanging by her housekeeper at 850 Park Avenue on the Upper East Side, reports claim.
American icon: Kate Spade was found dead at the age of 55 in her Park Avenue apartment on Tuesday (Spade above in 2004)
‘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,’ said executives for the fashion line Kate Spade
She leaves behind husband of 24 years Andy, who is actor David Spade’s brother, and 13-year-old daughter Frances Beatrix.
As medical examiners were seen entering the apartment block where the Kansas City-born designer lived, the rich and famous have been paying tribute to the fashion icon.
Kate leaves behind 13-year-old daughter Frances Beatrix
Chelsea Clinton, 38, tweeted: “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.”
And Ivanka Trump, 36, wrote: “Kate Spade’s tragic passing is a painful reminder that we never truly know another’s pain or the burden they carry.”
Journalist Guy Raz, who featured Spade on the How I Built This podcast last year, said he was “totally shocked” to hear of her death.
Tragedy: The designer left a note before taking her own life by hanging and was discovered ‘unconscious and unresponsive’ by her housekeeper just after 10am (Spade is taken from her home in a body bag)
He tweeted: “She was an inspiration to me and to millions… Thank you for everything you did for American fashion and entrepreneurship.”
Model Tess Holliday tweeted: “Kate Spade & her brand have always been so kind to me the past couple years & I’m crushed to hear about her passing.”
In a 2002 Glamour Women of the Year interview, Spade told the magazine how she wanted to be remembered.
“I hope that people remember me not just as a good businesswoman but as a great friend,” she said. “And a heck of a lot of fun.”
She launched Kate Spade Handbags with her husband Andy in 1993
Spade, who allegedly left a note, met her husband while they were working in a clothing store in Phoenix, Arizona, at university.
The launched Kate Spade Handbags in 1993, initially selling handbags before expanding to include clothing, jewellery, bedding, legwear and fragrances.
It became one of the biggest names in female accessories, and stars including the Duchess of Cambridge, Anne Hathaway and Taylor Swift have been pictured with her handbags.
Kate and Andy Spade got married in 1994 and had daughter Frances Beatrix
There were more than 140 Kate Spade New York outlets in the US alone, and more than 175 worldwide.
Despite her meteoric success, she sold her firm for around £22million in 2007 to spend more time with her daughter, according to TMZ.
By 2006, the company was valued at $125 million, and Kate left for good the following year after Neiman sold Kate Spade & Co to Liz Claiborne that same year (Kate with Andy and David Spade in 2001)
It was eventually sold to Liz Claiborne Inc for £92.6million and in May last year, Coach Inc bought it for £1.8billion.
The deal transformed Coach into a fashion powerhouse, a strategy that European counterparts including Louis Vuitton have built their businesses on.
Spade got back into the fashion game in 2016, launching luxury footwear and accessory brand Frances Valentine.
Kate and Andy spade attend a Karlie Kloss and Warby Parker Collaboration launch in New York
“Why are you putting your hand back in the blender?” fellow designer Michael Kors once asked Kate, who shared that piece of advice with the Wall Street Journal.
She added: “Why did I start a new company? I was like, shoot. That might’ve been good advice but a bit too late!”
Kate was found in her apartment at this building on 850 Park Avenue on the Upper East Side
Her Upper East Side home was adorned with photos of her family, as well as bright and bold floor-to-ceiling art, according to People magazine who were invited into her luxury flat.
Doting mum Kate told how she put up her daughter’s own artwork, adding: “I feel like she deserves as much credit in this room so I want her work to feel as important.”
The New York Police Department confirmed the designer’s death under her birth name, Katherine Noel Brosnahan.
Spade’s business representatives did not respond to a request for comment.