Fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead on Tuesday.
Spade’s designs were timeless, colorful and fun. They were an investment, something the wearer could own for 50 years. Although she also designed clothes, Spade was perhaps most well-known for handbags, wallets and other accessories. Reporter Christina Brinkley said, “the purses became something of a handshake. When two women met and saw they were both holding Kate Spade bags, they’d nod at each other.”
Kate Spade bags also held special meaning because they were often one of the first luxury items a woman purchased after entering the workforce. Her designs were professional and structured, but they never sacrificed a sense of personality.
Fans from around the world remembered Spade on social media.
I am heartbroken about the news of Kate Spade. I have worn her clothes many, many times. They were colorful, bold, cheerful, and encouraged women to find the twinkly person inside them. You couldn’t walk into her boutiques and not smile. Rest In Peace, Kate.
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) June 5, 2018
And 1A producer Jonquilyn Hill weighed in:
When I first got a job with a livable wage, one of my first purchases was a Kate Spade. I was so proud that I could buy something for MYSELF that was a better quality and more of an investment than the bags I’d been carrying. This is so sad.
— Jonquilyn Hill (@jonquilynhill) June 5, 2018
Although Spade had not run her eponymous line for several years, the brand hewed so closely to the original aesthetics Spade created that some consumers were unaware that she was no longer in charge of it.
Editor-in-Chief of The Cut, Stella Bugbee, wrote:
I’m sad because Kate Spade’s death seems like an unimaginable outcome for the poised and impeccable woman I looked up to, whose work with her husband opened up my mind for the better. That shop in Soho was the scene of something exciting, a very special creative moment for Kate Spade and also for the city.
Spade’s work set trends for generations of women. Yet she was one of only a few prominent women to lead her own line in the male-dominated fashion industry. What made her designs so successful? How will fans and consumers alike remember her?
If you need to talk to someone, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline is 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- Robin Givhan Fashion critic, The Washington Post; author,"The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History; @RobinGivhan
- Vanessa Friedman Fashion director, The New York Times; @VVFriedman
- Shelley Kohan Assistant professor, Fashion Institute of Technology; @retailshelley
- Marc Bain Fashion reporter, Quartz and Quartzy; @marcbain_
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