BREAKING NEWS Austinville Elementary School going virtual on Monday following coronavirus case among office staff Full Story

Kate Spade, fashion designer, found dead in apparent suicide

Kate Brosnahan Spade, who created an iconic, accessible handbag line that bridged Main Street and high-end fashion, h...

Posted: Jun 6, 2018 11:27 AM
Updated: Jun 6, 2018 11:27 AM

Kate Brosnahan Spade, who created an iconic, accessible handbag line that bridged Main Street and high-end fashion, hanged herself in an apparent suicide Tuesday at her Manhattan apartment, according to New York Police Department sources.

Police responded at 10:10 a.m. after Spade was found by her housekeeper, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said. A suicide note was found at the scene, he said. Spade addressed her daughter in the note, according to two NYPD sources. Spade's husband also is referenced in the note, according to one of the sources.

The designer, 55, started Kate Spade New York in 1993 and opened her first shop in the city three years later, the company's website states.

"Debuting with just six silhouettes, she combined sleek, utilitarian shapes and colorful palettes in an entirely new way," the site says.

Best known for its colorful handbags, Kate Spade New York has more than 140 retail shops and outlet stores across the United States and more than 175 stores internationally, the site states.

How Kate Spade became a household name

Over time, she distanced herself from her business.

In 1999, she and her husband, Andy Spade, sold 56% of the brand to Neiman Marcus for $33.6 million. Liz Claiborne acquired the company in 2007, and Spade left her namesake brand. The luxury fashion company Coach announced plans in May 2017 to buy Kate Spade for $2.4 billion.

Kate Spade New York issued a statement confirming the "incredibly sad news" of their eponymous founder's death.

"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," the statement said. "Kate will be dearly missed. Our thoughts are with Andy and the entire Spade family at this time."

"We honor all the beauty she brought into this world," the company said in a tweet.

David Spade mourns sister-in-law: 'I still can't believe it'

More than a purse

Spade was found hanged by a scarf she allegedly tied to a doorknob, an NYPD source said.

Her death prompted an outpouring of grief among fans and her company's customers, including Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump.

"Everyone remembers their first Kate Spade," CNN White House reporter and former fashion editor Kate Bennett said. "(The brand) became one of those accessible but quirky fun, timeless labels that everyone had to have, and her rise was synonymous with her name."

For many women, a Kate Spade handbag functioned as a symbol of professional achievement.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America, which held a star-studded awards ceremony Monday night, posted a statement from Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb saying they were devastated to hear of Spade's death.

"She was a great talent who had an immeasurable impact on American fashion and the way the world viewed American accessories," the statement said.

Cindi Leive, a former editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine, said that part of Spade's legacy is that she put her entire personality into her work.

"She understood that women are going to respond to things that feel like they're made by a human, that they are expressing someone's personality," Leive said.

"If you put a pulse into it and every fiber of your being, people are going to respond. Now, that's kind of a given. Everybody wants to create their own personal lifestyle brand," she added. "But that was new at the time, and in a lot of ways, the contemporary version of it really came from her."

Before making the jump to designing, she was a senior fashion editor at the fashion magazine Mademoiselle.

Conversation at restaurant inspired Spade

Last year, Spade and her husband spoke with NPR's "How I Built This" about how they developed the company into a major lifestyle brand.

"So, Andy and I were out, honestly, at a Mexican restaurant," Kate Spade said, "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."

Joe Zee, a fashion journalist who had worked with Spade, recalled her telling him of the vision to start the handbag line.

"This wasn't something women did or just anyone really did back then in the early '90s," he told CNN. "And to quit a coveted magazine editor's job to really be able to do that ... it was so visionary and so ahead of its time."

"She always had such a great ray of light about her. She was so jovial," Zee said.

Spade's apparent suicide comes as suicide rates in the United States increased from 1999 to 2014 for everyone between the ages of 10 and 74, according to a 2016 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For white women, the suicide rate increased by 60% during that period, the study found.

Huntsville
Few Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Florence
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 82°
Fayetteville
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 78°
Decatur
Few Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 81°
Scottsboro
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 78°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19676351
Mobile13373292
Montgomery8834184
Tuscaloosa8621118
Madison788178
Shelby597849
Lee589760
Baldwin547750
Marshall394343
Calhoun351544
Etowah349045
Morgan329228
Houston290321
Elmore266748
DeKalb241621
St. Clair232235
Walker231684
Talladega216629
Limestone210120
Cullman189920
Dallas179026
Franklin177129
Autauga176425
Russell17603
Lauderdale171333
Colbert164626
Blount161115
Escambia160824
Chilton158530
Jackson157511
Covington140127
Dale138644
Coffee13486
Pike119810
Chambers116442
Tallapoosa116085
Clarke109116
Marion96429
Butler91239
Barbour8827
Winston74412
Marengo72020
Pickens66214
Bibb65410
Lowndes65327
Randolph64713
Hale63528
Geneva6254
Lawrence62023
Cherokee60813
Bullock60414
Monroe5898
Clay5858
Washington55713
Perry5416
Crenshaw53732
Conecuh53511
Wilcox53111
Henry5055
Macon48018
Fayette4578
Sumter43819
Cleburne3805
Lamar3672
Choctaw34712
Greene30315
Coosa1713
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 190891

Reported Deaths: 2374
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby30755458
Davidson26474306
Hamilton944394
Knox937879
Rutherford929389
Williamson525236
Sumner481998
Wilson347645
Putnam331540
Montgomery307044
Unassigned29495
Bradley293417
Out of TN289627
Madison287764
Sevier262315
Blount251624
Maury236124
Washington229736
Robertson221035
Sullivan216433
Hamblen191426
Tipton181819
Gibson165823
Trousdale16577
Hardeman157026
Wayne14975
Dyer137014
Bedford134517
Dickson125715
Coffee123613
Cumberland120118
Weakley118919
Fayette118819
Henderson118124
Anderson117913
Loudon11726
Obion117110
Carter116828
Greene115644
Jefferson111914
McMinn111925
Warren10617
Macon105521
Lawrence104313
Monroe103618
Hardin103016
Lauderdale98316
Franklin9699
Haywood96921
Lake9192
Roane8954
Carroll88920
McNairy88318
Bledsoe8544
White8379
Rhea83412
Hawkins81218
Cheatham80710
Marshall7565
Cocke7469
Overton7456
Smith72311
Johnson7112
Chester63210
Henry6259
Lincoln6191
Giles60717
Hickman5858
DeKalb56614
Crockett53819
Marion5298
Decatur5207
Fentress5053
Campbell4464
Claiborne4425
Polk38810
Grainger3763
Union3591
Benton3369
Jackson3265
Morgan3173
Grundy2915
Cannon2860
Unicoi2861
Humphreys2513
Sequatchie2332
Clay2265
Meigs2263
Houston2203
Scott2142
Stewart2042
Lewis2011
Moore1751
Van Buren1660
Perry1500
Pickett1162
Hancock1063

Community Events