Nearly 24 hours after Kate Spade was found dead of an apparent suicide, her niece, actress Rachel Brosnahan, paid loving tribute to the fashion designer on Instagram. "Knowing Katy, this is how she would want to be remembered. She had a light that words can't capture but touched everyone she came into contact with. She was exceedingly kind, beautifully sensitive, insanely talented, funny as heck and one of the most generous people I have ever known," the actress said in the video caption. "She was effervescent. Hug your loved ones extra tight today."
Last year, the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star told WWD she had admired fashion "from afar" for most of her life. "People around me have said I've inherited little pieces of Katy's style. For example, I love a good shoe and a good bag, and I know that she was largely influenced by my grandmother, her mother, June—who actually, fun fact, [my character] is slightly inspired by."
When Brosnahan won the Golden Globe in January for her work on Amazon series, Spade told Page Six, "I am beside myself! My daughter and I jumped up and down when she won. She deserves this recognition as she's put her heart and soul into the role. We are insanely proud."
Spade died in her Park Avenue apartment. "We are all devastated by today's tragedy. We loved Kate dearly and will miss her terribly," Spade's family told The New York Times in a statement. "We would ask that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this very difficult time." The 55-year-old fashion designer, who launched her namesake label in 1993, opened her first retail shop in SoHo in 1996. The billion-dollar brand now has more than 140 shops and outlet stores across the U.S., and more than 175 shops internationally. Spade left her company in 2007, after selling it to the Neiman Marcus Group for $125 million (then known as Liz Claiborne Inc.).
A decade later, Tapestry (then known as Coach) bought the label for $2.4 billion.
Spade went on to create a new line, Frances Valentine, in 2016.