2002: Kate Spade on her fashion inspiration

In a 2002 interview with CNN, Kate Spade talks about her childhood and her fashion role model.

Posted: Jun 6, 2018 8:48 AM
Updated: Jun 6, 2018 9:01 AM

Kate Brosnahan Spade, who created an iconic, accessible handbag line that bridged Main Street and high-end fashion, hanged herself in an apparent suicide Tuesday at her Manhattan apartment, according to New York Police Department sources.

Police responded at 10:10 a.m. after Spade was found by her housekeeper, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said. A suicide note was found at the scene, he said. Spade addressed her daughter in the note, according to two NYPD sources. Spade's husband also is referenced in the note, according to one of the sources.

The designer, 55, started Kate Spade New York in 1993 and opened her first shop in the city three years later, the company's website states.

"Debuting with just six silhouettes, she combined sleek, utilitarian shapes and colorful palettes in an entirely new way," the site says.

Best known for its colorful handbags, Kate Spade New York has more than 140 retail shops and outlet stores across the United States and more than 175 stores internationally, the site states.

How Kate Spade became a household name

Over time, she distanced herself from her business.

In 1999, she and her husband, Andy Spade, sold 56% of the brand to Neiman Marcus for $33.6 million. Liz Claiborne acquired the company in 2007, and Spade left her namesake brand. The luxury fashion company Coach announced plans in May 2017 to buy Kate Spade for $2.4 billion.

Kate Spade New York issued a statement confirming the "incredibly sad news" of their eponymous founder's death.

"Although Kate has not been affiliated with the brand for more than a decade, she and her husband and creative partner, Andy, were the founders of our beloved brand," the statement said. "Kate will be dearly missed. Our thoughts are with Andy and the entire Spade family at this time."

"We honor all the beauty she brought into this world," the company said in a tweet.

David Spade mourns sister-in-law: 'I still can't believe it'

More than a purse

Spade was found hanged by a scarf she allegedly tied to a doorknob, an NYPD source said.

Her death prompted an outpouring of grief among fans and her company's customers, including Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump.

"Everyone remembers their first Kate Spade," CNN White House reporter and former fashion editor Kate Bennett said. "(The brand) became one of those accessible but quirky fun, timeless labels that everyone had to have, and her rise was synonymous with her name."

For many women, a Kate Spade handbag functioned as a symbol of professional achievement.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America, which held a star-studded awards ceremony Monday night, posted a statement from Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb saying they were devastated to hear of Spade's death.

"She was a great talent who had an immeasurable impact on American fashion and the way the world viewed American accessories," the statement said.

Cindi Leive, a former editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine, said that part of Spade's legacy is that she put her entire personality into her work.

"She understood that women are going to respond to things that feel like they're made by a human, that they are expressing someone's personality," Leive said.

"If you put a pulse into it and every fiber of your being, people are going to respond. Now, that's kind of a given. Everybody wants to create their own personal lifestyle brand," she added. "But that was new at the time, and in a lot of ways, the contemporary version of it really came from her."

Before making the jump to designing, she was a senior fashion editor at the fashion magazine Mademoiselle.

Conversation at restaurant inspired Spade

Last year, Spade and her husband spoke with NPR's "How I Built This" about how they developed the company into a major lifestyle brand.

"So, Andy and I were out, honestly, at a Mexican restaurant," Kate Spade said, "and he just said, what about handbags? And I said, honey, you just don't start a handbag company. And he said, why not? How hard can it be? (Laughter) I thought, OK, really? He regrets those words."

Joe Zee, a fashion journalist who had worked with Spade, recalled her telling him of the vision to start the handbag line.

"This wasn't something women did or just anyone really did back then in the early '90s," he told CNN. "And to quit a coveted magazine editor's job to really be able to do that ... it was so visionary and so ahead of its time."

"She always had such a great ray of light about her. She was so jovial," Zee said.

Spade's apparent suicide comes as suicide rates in the United States increased from 1999 to 2014 for everyone between the ages of 10 and 74, according to a 2016 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For white women, the suicide rate increased by 60% during that period, the study found.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751242

Reported Deaths: 13795
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1032931788
Lake556911009
Allen41692692
St. Joseph36990565
Hamilton36588417
Elkhart29398461
Tippecanoe22901226
Vanderburgh22556400
Porter19356325
Johnson18471389
Hendricks17682317
Clark13226195
Madison13149344
Vigo12614253
LaPorte12419221
Monroe12207176
Delaware10966198
Howard10321225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8576146
Bartholomew8169157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7811180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6966103
Morgan6761141
Dubois6218118
Marshall6209116
Cass6016110
Henry5900110
Dearborn589878
Noble581488
Jackson509076
Shelby501496
Lawrence4742122
Gibson444894
Clinton442355
Harrison441875
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438090
Whitley406543
Huntington402681
Steuben400159
Miami395269
Jasper388054
Knox375991
Putnam372960
Wabash361983
Ripley347170
Adams345555
Jefferson335886
White331953
Daviess3033100
Wells295281
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246036
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228058
Fountain220948
Sullivan214643
Owen211858
Fulton202942
Jay200932
Carroll193620
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166246
Parke149416
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120647
Newton113936
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101714
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1108902

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287491467
Cuyahoga1158082211
Hamilton814091250
Montgomery525571043
Summit484351001
Lucas43359820
Butler39018606
Stark33338929
Lorain25675505
Warren24595303
Mahoning22376603
Lake21211388
Clermont20124253
Delaware18856136
Licking16663222
Fairfield16576204
Trumbull16551482
Medina15612271
Greene15284248
Clark14237306
Wood13292200
Portage13251215
Allen11914239
Richland11607211
Miami10849225
Wayne9146223
Columbiana9034230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8650250
Marion8642138
Erie8056165
Ashtabula7161179
Hancock6999132
Ross6945161
Geauga6838151
Scioto6534106
Belmont6157174
Union584649
Lawrence5732102
Jefferson5679158
Huron5546122
Sandusky5442126
Darke5420129
Seneca5350128
Washington5320109
Athens523960
Auglaize502187
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4572112
Madison444366
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432174
Crawford4040110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3856105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359865
Williams348278
Champaign344859
Guernsey324953
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285450
Hardin275365
Henry273467
Holmes2702101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243256
Pike242835
Gallia240750
Wyandot234556
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148440
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 69°
Angola
Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: °
Huntington
Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 69°
Decatur
Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 69°
Van Wert
Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 74°
Calm and cool conditions are expected across the Midwest through the middle of the work week.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events