Photograph by Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Fashion Designer Kate Spade Dead at 55

Her bags were a hit in the late ’90s for their quirky, preppy sensibility.

by Rachel Tashjian
Jun 5 2018, 5:33pm

Photograph by Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead this morning in her Park Avenue apartment, in what police are investigating as an apparent suicide. She was 55.

Spade came to prominence in the early and mid-90s for her nylon bags and preppy, quirky accessories, designed under the eponymous brand she founded with her husband, the designer Andy Spade (Spade is the brother of comedian David Spade). Her bags—which were first sold at Barneys, Neiman Marcus, and her 300-square-foot Soho store—were a hit with “all chic women with good shoes,” according to a 1999 New York Times profile, and were perhaps the first It-bags on teenage girls’ luxury must-have lists, along with Tiffany & Co. jewelry and Coach bags.

By 2006, the brand revenue neared $99 million annually, and Spade sold the company to Liz Claiborne in 2007. She reentered the fashion industry in 2015 with the brand Frances Valentine, named after her daughter.

This is an ongoing story and will be updated.

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