Fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead in her New York City apartment Tuesday morning, law enforcement officials confirmed to the Associated Press.
Authorities believe her death was an apparent suicide.
Officials told the AP she left a note at the scene.
Back in 1993, Kate Brosnahan Spade, a former accessories editor at mademoiselle, set out to design the perfect handbag, according to her company’s website. That mission led to their first New York City shop in 1996 and eventually it grew to become a global design powerhouse.
Joe Zee, the former creative director of Elle and former fashion director of W, met Ms. Spade before she started her company, within weeks of his own start in the fashion industry.
“She told me she was thinking of starting a handbag line in that carefree, excited way she had,” he said. “I remember her describing some aspects of it to me and what she wanted to do, in that same spirited manner she had when she talked. It was always colorful, said with excitement and a smile.”
Spade created an accessories empire and whose handbags became a status symbol and a token of sophisticated adulthood for American women. She was the embodiment of her own aesthetic, with her proto-1960s bouffant, nerd glasses and kooky grin, which masked a business mind that saw the opportunities in becoming a lifestyle brand, almost before the term officially existed.
A housekeeper found the 55-year-old designer in her home on Park Ave. near E. 77th St. at about 10:20 a.m. Spade had hung herself, police sources said.
Kate Spade New York has more than 140 retail shops and around the U.S., and more than 175 elsewhere in the world.
The Spade 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.”
Spade’s apparent suicide comes as suicide rates in the United States increased from 1999 to 2014 for everyone between the ages of 10 and 74, according to a 2016 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For white women, the suicide rate increased by 60% during that period, the study found.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia