A designer who created an accessories empire was found dead early today in an apparent suicide. The New York Times reports that Kate Spade, 55, was found unresponsive in a Park Avenue apartment where she had hanged herself in her bedroom.
“She was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:26 a.m. She left a note, but a police official did not comment on what it said,” the paper reports. “A housekeeper found Ms. Spade, the police said. She was unconscious, and the housekeeper called 911. Ms. Spade’s husband was at the scene.”
Spade’s handbags “became a status symbol and a token of sophisticated adulthood for American women,” the story notes.
The Times adds: “One of the first of a powerful wave of female American contemporary designers in the 1990s, Ms. Spade built a brand on the appeal of clothes and accessories that made women smile. Her cheerful lack of restraint and bright prints struck a chord with consumers.
“She embodied her own aesthetic, with her proto-1960s bouffant, nerd glasses and playful grin. Beneath that image was a business mind that saw the opportunities in becoming a lifestyle brand, almost before the term officially existed.”
In a statement, Spade’s family said: “We are all devastated by today’s tragedy. We loved Kate dearly and will miss her terribly. We would ask that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this very difficult time.”