Fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead in her New York City Park Avenue apartment of an apparent hanging suicide. She was 55. Spade is survived by her 13-year-old daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade. Spade's new fashion line, Frances Valentine, is named for her daughter.
Spade became loved for her recognizable handbags featuring modern, sleek looks with bold pops of color and feminine touches.
Spade was born Katherine Noel Brosnahan in Kansas City, Mo., in 1962. She and Andy Spade (David Spade's relative) met at Arizona State University in the 1980s when they were both students working part time at Carter's men's store.
In New York she worked at Mademoiselle magazine as an accessories editor.
Spade's line became popular with celebrities from Sandra Bullock to Linda Evangelista.
In 1999, Neiman Marcus bought a 56% stake in the company for $33.6 million.
Friends and admirers expressed shock and sadness at the news.
Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb issued a statement on behalf of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which held its 2018 awards Monday night.
Spade was a two-time winner, in 1998 and 1996, of a CFDA International Award.
"The CFDA is devastated to hear the news of our friend, colleague, and CFDA member Kate Spade’s tragic passing. She was a great talent who had an immeasurable impact on American fashion and the way the world viewed American accessories.
"We want to honor her life and her major contribution to the fashion business and express our most sincere condolences to the family," the statement said.