Fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead Tuesday morning in her New York apartment, the New York Police Department confirmed. She was 55.
Law enforcement officials told the Associated Press that it was apparent suicide. Housekeeping staff reportedly found Spade at around 10:20 a.m. hanging in her Park Avenue apartment.
Police added that the investigation is ongoing and had no further comment. A representative for Spade said she did not have a statement at this time.
Born Katherine Brosnahan in Kansas City, Mo., Spade studied journalism at Arizona State University and landed a job at Conde Nast in New York City. She started as an assistant at the fashion publishing giant, where she eventually worked her way up to senior fashion editor at Mademoiselle, dealing with accessories for fashion shoots.
At the time, “bags were too complicated,” Spade later recalled to NPR. “And I really loved very simple kind of architectural shapes.”
“They were all very square and simple,” Spade said. “And I thought, gosh, I mean, why can’t we find something just clean and simple and modern?”
Spade quit her magazine job, and in 1993, joined her soon-to be-husband Andy Spade in co-founding the fashion label, Kate Spade, a collection of handbags and accessories. The label eventually became known for its bold color palette and functional products, including stationery, beauty products and eyewear.
The first Kate Spade shop in New York opened in 1996. Three years later, the couple sold Kate Spade to Neiman Marcus, which then sold it to Liz Claiborne in 2007. Both founders eventually left the brand, which is now a part of Tapestry, Inc. There are more than 140 Kate Spade retail and outlet stores in the United States and more than 175 internationally.
In 2016, after she left her brand, Spade changed her name to Kate Valentine Spade and launched a luxury handbag and footwear brand called Frances Valentine. She told Women’s Wear Daily, “Frances is a longtime family name on my dad’s side. 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.”
Spade is survived by her husband and daughter.