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Designer Kate Spade has died in an apparent suicide at 55

Hayley Peterson
kate spade

AP/Bebeto Matthews

  • Kate Spade, 55, was found dead in her New York City apartment on Tuesday morning.
  • The Associated Press, citing law-enforcement officials, says a housekeeper found the designer hanging from a red scarf tied to her bedroom doorknob.
  • An NYPD source told the New York Post that Spade left a note behind, leading them to believe it was a suicide.
  • Spade is survived by her husband, Andy Spade, and her 13-year-old daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade.

The fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead in her New York City apartment on Tuesday in what authorities reportedly believe was a suicide.

A housekeeper found Spade in her home at 850 Park Avenue at about 10:20 a.m., the Associated Press reports, citing law-enforcement officials.

Spade is believed to have hanged herself with a red scarf tied to her bedroom doorknob, according to The New York Times, which said she left behind a note. She was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:26 a.m., The Times said.

An NYPD source told the New York Post that Spade left a note behind.

"At this point, there was a note left. The contents of that note, as well as the physical state of the apartment and the comments of the witness, lend to the credibility that it is an apparent suicide," NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea told the New York Post.

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

kate spade

Frances Valentine

In a statement to the Times, the Spade family said, "We are all devastated by today's tragedy. 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."

In a 2002 interview with Glamour magazine, Kate Spade said, "I hope that people remember me not just as a good businesswoman but as a great friend — and a heck of a lot of fun."

Her namesake business, Kate Spade New York, has more than 315 stores globally, including more than 140 in the US.

Spade launched the business, which sells handbags, shoes, and accessories, with Andy Spade in 1993. The couple sold their shares in the company to Neiman Marcus in 2006 for an undisclosed amount.

Kate Spade


Liz Claiborne then bought Kate Spade shortly afterward for a reported $124 million, and Coach acquired the company last year for $2.4 billion.

Spade reentered the fashion industry two years ago with the launch of a new brand, which she named Frances Valentine after her daughter, selling shoes and handbags.

Spade started her career as an accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine in 1986. She worked her way up to be senior fashion editor before leaving the magazine in 1991 to launch her namesake fashion brand.

Kate Spade

Matthew Peyton / Stringer

She was named "America's New Fashion Talent in Accessories" in 1996 by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Two years later, the CFDA named her the best accessory designer of the year.

In a recent video posted to Frances Valentine's website, Spade talked about where she found inspiration.

"People always ask me, 'Where do you find inspiration?' and I think that's a very difficult question because I think everywhere ... I find it in everyday life," she said.

She also joked about the challenges of working with friends and family.

"The most fun thing about what I do is about working with friends and family," she said. "I would say the most challenging part is working with friends and family."

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.

Remembering Kate Spade:

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