How Kate Spade became a household name

Kate Spade is an iconic name in fashion, synonymous with sleek, sophisticated handbags.The designer ...

Posted: Jun 5, 2018 7:12 PM
Updated: Jun 5, 2018 7:12 PM

Kate Spade is an iconic name in fashion, synonymous with sleek, sophisticated handbags.

The designer died on Tuesday of an apparent suicide. She left a strong legacy in the fashion industry.

Spade, who grew up in Kansas City, said she never expected to start a handbag company.

In 1986 Spade started working at the fashion magazine Mademoiselle, climbing the ladder until she became a senior fashion editor. But she said in an interview with Fortune Small Business that by 1992, she needed a change. Encouraged by her husband Andy, she quit her job and started designing handbags.

The next year, she launched her eponymous brand. Andy joined the company full-time in 1996.

At the time, the company made just six handbags. They quickly became popular, and the company grew. Kate Spade went from a scrappy purse business to a fashion empire that sold clothing, shoes, jewelry and home goods, competing with bigger companies.

Related: Coach buying Kate Spade in $2.4 billion deal

Over time, Spade distanced herself from the business. In 1999, Kate and Andy Spade sold 56% of the business to Neiman Marcus for $33.6 million. Liz Claiborne acquired the company in 2007, and Kate Spade left her namesake brand. In 2017, Coach snapped up the brand in a $2.4 billion deal.

"Although Kate has not been affiliated with the brand for more than a decade, she and her husband and creative partner, Andy, were the founders of our beloved brand. Kate will be dearly missed," a Kate Spade spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday.

But Kate and Andy Spade never stopped working in fashion. In 2016, they launched a new shoes, handbags and accessories company, Frances Valentine, along with their former partners Elyse Arons and shoe designer Paola Venturi.

On social media, prominent figures mourned Spade's passing. Chelsea Clinton tweeted, "My grandmother gave me my first Kate Spade bag when I was in college. I still have it."

Over the course of her life, Spade earned many awards and accolades for her work. She has been honored by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and her designs were featured in an exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York.

- CNN's Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.

West Lafayette
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 76°
Kokomo
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 75°
Rensselaer
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 75°
Fowler
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 76°
Williamsport
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 79°
Crawfordsville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 73°
Frankfort
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 73°
Delphi
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 74°
Monticello
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 74°
Logansport
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 75°
Warming up with plenty of sunshine!
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
Clark17562231
Madison17492385
Vigo16302285
Monroe14545191
LaPorte14389239
Delaware14183222
Howard13971273
Kosciusko11498135
Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
Dearborn769490
Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
Lawrence7026153
Shelby6647111
Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
Harrison609386
Huntington604495
Montgomery5853105
DeKalb581091
Knox5535104
Miami548888
Putnam543268
Clinton537465
Whitley529354
Steuben501768
Wabash488692
Jasper483861
Jefferson474492
Ripley457777
Adams446068
Daviess4231108
Scott409165
Clay394957
White393858
Greene393392
Wells389884
Decatur388797
Fayette378578
Posey362341
Jennings356056
Washington334747
LaGrange325175
Spencer321136
Fountain318455
Randolph317190
Sullivan309449
Owen287064
Starke282864
Fulton280454
Orange277859
Jay257038
Perry254152
Carroll245229
Franklin242838
Rush237030
Vermillion235050
Parke221420
Tipton212055
Pike211740
Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
Crawford147318
Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
Switzerland126910
Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events