Fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead of an apparent suicide on Tuesday.
NBC New York reports that Spade, 55, was discovered unresponsive in her Park Avenue apartment by a housekeeper late Tuesday morning. Her death seems to have occured when her daughter was at school and her husband was downstairs in the house. A note left at the scene indicates that Spade’s death was a suicide.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea told press that Spade’s case “appears at this point in time to be a tragic case of apparent suicide." He noted that it is still early in the investigation.
Kate Spade New York was founded in 1993. Inspired by Hollywood icons and a simple structured look, Spade left her job at Mademoiselle magazine to start her label.
“I grew up in the Midwest,” Spade told Alternative Press in 2004, “where you have to have [an item] because you like it, not because you have to have it.” She also remarked that for the Kate Spade customer, fashion is “an adornment, not an obsession."
Spade ran the brand with her husband, Andy, up until 1999. They sold the rest of their stock to Stuart Weitzman in 2015. The husband-and-wife duo had launched another handbag company, Frances Valentine, in 2016.
“We are all devastated by today’s tragedy,” the family said in a statement, “We loved Kate dearly and will miss her terribly. We would ask that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this very difficult time.”
Hitha Herzog, Chief Research Officer at H Squared Research and long-time observer of the brand, told ABC News of Spade’s impact: "She has a brand loyalty like none I have ever seen... There are women who started carrying her tote bag in 1997 and are still wearing her stuff now. It's one of those brands that has generational loyalty. Despite Kate, sadly, not being alive anymore, her brand name and brand loyalty will continue."