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Fashion designer Kate Spade found dead at New York apartment

Tuesday - 05/06/2018 17:23
FASHION designer Kate Spade, who built a billion dollar handbag empire, has been found dead in her New York apartment.
Designer Kate Spade poses with handbags and shoes from her 2004 collection in New York. Picture: APSource:AP
Designer Kate Spade poses with handbags and shoes from her 2004 collection in New York. Picture: APSource:AP

FASHION designer Kate Spade has been found dead inside her Upper East Side apartment in New York at the age of 55.

Ms Spade, who built an empire on her famous handbags before branching out into other accessories, was reportedly found in her bedroom by a housekeeper around 11am (1am AEST).

Police said the death was not suspicious.

Designer Kate Spade poses with shoes from her collection in New York. Picture: AP
Designer Kate Spade poses with shoes from her collection in New York. Picture: APSource:AP

 

Police said Ms Spade wrote a note, which sources claim was addressed to her 13-year-old daughter Frances Beatrix Spade.

The designer’s husband, Andy, was home when her body was discovered, according to an AP report. Frances was at school.

Kate Spade and brother-in-law, David Spade, pictured in 2002. Picture: MEGA
Kate Spade and brother-in-law, David Spade, pictured in 2002. Picture: MEGASource:Mega

NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea answered questions about her death at an unrelated press conference.

“At this point, there was a note left. The contents of that note, as well as the physical state of the apartment and the comments of the witness, lend to the credibility that it is an apparent suicide,” he said.

The body of Kate Spade is taken from her apartment in New York. Picture: MEGA
The body of Kate Spade is taken from her apartment in New York. Picture: MEGASource:Mega

Ms Spade was born Kate Brosnahan in Kansas City, Missouri.

She earned a journalism degree before working in the accessories department of Mademoiselle magazine in New York.

In 1994 she started the fashion brand Kate Spade Handbags, which went on to become a global empire. It became one of the biggest names in female accessories, worn by stars including the Duchess of Cambridge, Anne Hathaway and Anna Kendrick.

She met her husband at university while working in a clothing store. His brother is David Spade, the star of SNL and Just Shoot Me.

Ms Spade was the aunt of House of Cards and The Marvellous Mrs Maisel star Rachel Brosnahan.

Kate Spade. Picture: Getty
Kate Spade. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images
 
House of Cards star Rachel Brosnahan. Picture: Getty
House of Cards star Rachel Brosnahan. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images

Despite her meteoric success, she sold her firm in 2007 to spend more time with her daughter, according to TMZ.

It was eventually sold to Liz Claiborne Inc for $US124 million ($162 million) and in May last year, Coach Inc bought it for $US2.4 billion ($3.1 billion).

Spade got back into the fashion game in 2016, launching the luxury footwear and accessory brand Frances Valentine.

There were more than 140 Kate Spade New York outlets in the US alone, and more than 175 worldwide.

 

Andy Spade, Courteney Cox, David Spade and Kate Spade in 2006. Picture: Getty
Andy Spade, Courteney Cox, David Spade and Kate Spade in 2006. Picture: GettySource:Supplied
 
Kate Spade with husband Andy Spade and niece Rachel Brosnahan. Picture: Splash
Kate Spade with husband Andy Spade and niece Rachel Brosnahan. Picture: SplashSource:Supplied

 

 
A Kate Spade store stands in the Soho neighbourhood of Manhattan in New York. Picture: AFP
A Kate Spade store stands in the Soho neighbourhood of Manhattan in New York. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

Tributes have poured in for the designer from both inside the fashion world and the wider community.

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