FASHION designer Kate Spade has been found dead in her New York City apartment.
Spade was found by her housekeeper at her home on Park Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the New York Daily News reported, citing unnamed police officials. A note was reportedly found at the scene.
The 55-year-old was a co-founder of the designer label Kate Spade New York, which she later sold.
Spade was a former accessories editor at the now-closed Mademoiselle magazine before launching her design company, Kate Spade New York, in 1993. It began by selling handbags before expanding to include clothing, jewellery, bedding, legwear and fragrances.
Tapestry Inc, the handbag company formerly known as Coach, bought Kate Spade in May 2017 to tap millennials, who are drawn to the company’s quirky satchels and colourful tote bags.
Spade herself didn’t benefit from the sale as she had already sold her shares in the company more than a decade before.
The deal also turned Coach into a multibrand fashion house, a strategy that European counterparts such as Louis Vuitton have built their businesses on.
Kate Spade New York has over 140 retail stores across the United States and more than 175 shops internationally, according to the company’s website.
In 2016, Spade and her husband Andy, with whom she had a daughter, founded a new accessories label called Frances Valentine.
Andy is the brother of Hollywood actor David Spade, best known for roles in the film Joe Dirt and the 1990s sitcom Just Shoot Me.
The New York Police Department confirmed the designer’s death under her birth name, Katherine Noel Brosnahan.
Ivanka Trump, a daughter of and adviser to US President Donald Trump, described Spade’s death on Twitter as “a painful reminder that we never truly know another’s pain or the burden they carry.”
Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton was also among those paying tribute.
“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,” she tweeted.
Singer Josh Groban wrote: “RIP Kate Spade. Love to her family.”
Spade told National Public Radio (NPR) last year that she first discussed starting a handbag company with her husband while they ate at a Mexican restaurant in 1991.
“I said, ‘Honey, you don’t just start a handbag company,'” she said, “and he said, ‘Why not, how hard can it be?'”
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