Iconic Fashion Designer Kate Spade Dies At 55

It’s a sad day in the world of fashion. Kate Spade, the prolific handbag and fashion designer, has died of reported suicide. While details are yet to be confirmed, the 55-year-old was allegedly found in her NYC Park Avenue apartment by housekeeping staff; she left a note.

The designer has been a mainstay in the fashion industry since 1991, when she first served as senior editor for Mademoiselle magazine. It was there that she was inspired to create a line of bags that served as an escape to the stale, classic models she had observed over the years. According to Racked, the young entrepreneur got to work with then-boyfriend Andy Spade on a line of handbags that were “timeless” and “more personal, less serious.” The rest is fashion history. In the span of 20 years, Kate managed to build an empire that would eventually expand to women’s clothing, home decor and children’s apparel. Although the company was sold to Liz Claiborne in 2006 (with Kate and Andy exiting a year later), the founder is and always will be the woman behind the handbags and style we all know and love.

Kate is survived by husband Andy and 13-year-old daughter Frances Valentine.

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. For international resources, here is a good place to begin.