Fashion Designer Kate Spade Leaves Behind a Legacy of Creativity and Inspiration

Fashion designer Kate Spade has died unexpectedly at age 55. Her body was discovered this morning, June 5, inside her New York City apartment.

Spade designed clothing, jewelry and shoes, but was most associated with her handbags, many of which display exuberant colors and patterns.

She started Kate Spade Handbags with her husband, Andy Spade, in 1993. They grew the business, which later became known as Kate Spade New York, to include more than 300 retail shops and outlet stores worldwide. Las Vegas is home to five locations: Fashion Show, The Forum Shops at Caesars, Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian | The Palazzo, Las Vegas North Premium Outlets and Las Vegas South Premium Outlets.

The designer’s home furnishings line, comprising a variety of tableware, linens, photo frames, and other home decor and accessories, was launched in 2004.

Majority stake in the Kate Spade company was purchased by the Neiman Marcus Group in 1999.

A majority stake in Spade’s company was purchased by the Neiman Marcus Group in 1999.

A majority stake in the Kate Spade brand was purchased in 1999 by the Neiman Marcus Group, which bought the remaining shares in 2006. The brand was bought this past year by Coach for $2.4 billion.

“She was a great talent who had an immeasurable impact on American fashion and the way the world viewed American accessories,” said designer Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb, president and chief executive officer of Council of Fashion Designers of America, in a joint statement.

“Kate Spade was more than a designer,” wrote actress and director Lena Dunham via Twitter.

“She had a quirky visual language that captivated bat mitzvah girls and artists alike. She was also a staple of NYC who spread goodwill. My heart breaks for her family. Thank you, Kate, from one of the millions you made feel beautiful.”

Spade was born on Christmas Eve of 1962 in Kansas City, Missouri. She received a journalism degree from Arizona State University.

Prior to her design career, Spade worked at the New York-based fashion magazine Mademoiselle for five years in various capacities, including senior fashion editor, the title she held when she departed in 1991.

After selling all her interest in her namesake company, she and her husband created and launched, along with Kate Spade partner Elyce Arons and former shoe design director Paola Venturia, a new company called Frances Valentine, which focuses principally on handbags and shoes.

Spade officially changed her last named to Valentine — the middle name of her grandfather — in 2016. She said it was to separate her personal identity from the Kate Spade brand.

She is survived by her husband and her 13-year-old daughter, Frances Spade.

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