Fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead today in her Upper East Side apartment, according to multiple reports. She was 55.
Police say that they were called to 850 Park Avenue at 10:20 a.m. Tuesday. A spokesperson confirmed to Gothamist that a 55-year-old woman was found dead in the apartment; the medical examiner will determine the cause of death.
In a statement posted to CFDA, Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb wrote:
The CFDA is devastated to hear the news of our friend, colleague, and CFDA member Kate Spade’s tragic passing. She was a great talent who had an immeasurable impact on American fashion and the way the world viewed American accessories.
We want to honor her life and her major contribution to the fashion business and express our most sincere condolences to the family.
Born Katherine Noel Brosnahan, Spade started her career working in the accessories department of Mademoiselle magazine in Manhattan in the 1980s. She married Andy Spade, the brother of actor/comedian David Spade, in 1994, and took his last name. Together, the couple launched "kate spade handbags" in the early '90s; she opened the first Kate Spade brand boutique in Soho in 1996. Over time, the company expanded beyond handbags to include clothing, jewelry, shoes, fragrances, bedding, and more items.
She and her husband sold their last shares in the company in 2006. In 2016, Spade launched a new fashion brand called Frances Valentine; she added those two names to her legal name, which became Katherine Noel Frances Valentine Brosnahan Spade.
She gave People Magazine a tour of her home in 2016:
In addition to her husband of 22 years, she is survived by a daughter, 13-year-old Frances Beatrix Spade. Her niece is actress Rachel Brosnahan, the star of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone; remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt; and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.