Fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead in her apartment Tuesday of an apparent suicide, law enforcement officials said.
The officials said housekeeping staff found her hanging inside her Park Avenue apartment at about 10:20 a.m. They said she left a note at the scene. The officials were not authorized to divulge details of an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The officials didn’t know what the note said.
Spade, who was 55, created a line of sleek handbags in the early 1990s that created a smash.
The company, Kate Spade New York, has over 140 retail shops and outlet stores across the U.S. and more than 175 shops internationally. Spade and her husband Andy cashed out of her name-sake business more than a decade ago. Luxury fashion brand Coach bought the company in 2017 in a $2.4-billion deal.
Born Kate Brosnahan in Kansas City in 1962, she graduated with a degree in journalism from Arizona State University in 1985.
She started off her career at Mademoiselle magazine, and at that time met her future husband (who’s also the brother of actor David Spade); the pair worked together as salespeople at a men’s clothing store.
WATCH: Kate Spade’s body removed from Park Avenue apartment.
Content contains disturbing images – Discretion advised.
She left Mademoiselle in 1991, and noticing a dearth in fashionable-yet-sensible handbags, decided to strike out on her own. Kate Spade Handbags was launched in 1993, with its first store located in Manhattan’s SoHo neighbourhood. Eventually, the company began to produce other items besides handbags, including housewares, fragrances, eyeglasses, and more.
Spade’s handbags were a must-have, and she ranked among the New York designers to cement the minimalist look. She was instrumental in refocusing the ’90s New York look with her iconic “Sam” handbag — a black boxy tote in waterproof nylon that was seen both on the streets and the silver screen.
The fashion world reeled at the news of her passing, and many celebrities and Spade fans tweeted their condolences.
Spade leaves behind her husband and the couple’s one daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) all offer ways for getting help if you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues.
— With files from The Associated Press and Marilisa Racco