Designer Kate Valentine, formerly known as Kate Spade, died of an apparent suicide on Tuesday at 55 years old. According to the Associated Press, Spade was confirmed dead after housekeeping staff found her hanging at her Park Avenue apartment in New York, where her husband was reportedly home at the time. A note was also found, though officials have not released further information about it.
Born Katherine Noel Brosnahan (her niece is actress Rachel Brosnahan), the designer was married to 55-year-old Andy Spade (brother of actor David Spade), and had one daughter with him, Frances Beatrix Valentine. Kate and Andy married in 1994, after meeting at a clothing store where they both worked, according to Newsweek. He helped found Partners & Spade, Sleepy Jones, as well as the Kate Spade brand, which he and Kate launched in 1993.
Soon after the launch, the Kate Spade brand became known for its playful and whimsical handbags, which reflected her personal style. Into the decade, the brand expanded its accessories portfolio and launched clothing as well. In July 2017, Tapestry Inc. (then Coach Inc.). bought Kate Spade for $2.4 billion.
Andy discussed their working relationship in an interview with AOL Build in 2017. “The good part is that we share the same aesthetic and we like the same things,” he said. “She happens to be very, very detail oriented and I happen to think more conceptually.”
Valentine sold ownership of her stake in the Kate Spade brand in 2007, and with her husband proceeded to launch another brand named after her family, Frances Valentine, in 2016. “When we sold the company in 2007, it was really to focus on our family. It really was. It was a grind. I had just had a baby,” she told CNBC in May 2016.
The plan for Frances Valentine was to keep it in the family. “My grandfather, father, brother, and my daughter’s name is Frances. And then Valentine was my mom’s dad’s middle name because he was born on Valentine’s day,” she told WWD in November 2015.
“The most fun thing about what I do I would say is working with friends and family. I would say the most challenging part is working with friends and family. I’m kidding,” she said in May 2017.
Our thoughts are with Valentine’s family and friends.