Kate Spade

Fashion designer Kate Spade dies aged 55 in apparent suicide

Fashion designer Kate Spade has been found dead at her New York apartment, where she reportedly took her own life.

Spade, 55, was found by her housekeeper earlier today, 5 June 2018, at her home at 850 Park Avenue, according to CBS News. Sources say that she committed suicide by hanging, and that she left a note.

The American designer – whose maiden name was Kate Brosnahan, and who more recently went by Kate Valentine – gained international fame with her line of handbags. She founded the company Kate Spade New York with husband Andy Spade in 1993, and it went on to become a global lifestyle brand.

The label expanded to include clothing and other accessories, and eventually a home collection. At one point, it had 140 stores across the US and a further 175 around the world.

Kate Spade products are also sold by over 450 retailers, including luxury department stores Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus – the parent group of which owned shares in the brand from 1999 to 2006.

Kate Spade storefront
Kate Spade New York operated 140 stores across the US and a further 175 around the world at one point. Photograph by Ralph Daily

Most recently, Kate Spade New York was bought by luxury company Coach for $2.4 billion (£1.8 billion) in May 2017.

Spade sold the remainder of her own shares in the brand in 2006. After taking time off to raise her daughter, she set up a new handbag and footwear brand called Frances Valentine in 2016.

The designer was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1962 and went on to study at Arizona State University, where she met Andy Spade and graduated in 1985 with a degree in journalism.

Before starting her eponymous brand, she spent a period working for lifestyle magazine Mademoiselle. Her title was senior fashion editor/head of accessories when she left in 1991.

Photograph of Kate Spade is from Getty Images.