This week we pay tribute to iconic accessories designer Kate Spade, who passed away this week aged 55
Kate Spade was a pioneering accessories designer, known by all in the bridal industry thanks to her namesake brand’s cute and quirky wedding accessories, including clutch bags and stationery.
She started the Kate Spade New York brand in the 1990s with her then-boyfriend Andy Spade, who would later become her husband. After working as Accessories Editor for Conde Nast publication Madamoiselle, she noticed a gap in the market for reasonably-priced, desirable handbags.
Read more: Kate Spade found dead aged 55
She created a range of bags that would go on to become one of the first ‘It’ bags in the 90s. Her clever marketing and fun branding ensured that her creations would become one of the first products young women lusted after and aspired to own.
Her fashion empire expanded, growing to become hundreds of shops across the world. “Kate Spade had an enviable gift for understanding exactly what women the world over wanted to carry,” commented Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour, in a statement about the designer.
In 2007, Kate and Andy Spade sold the brand and it was bought again in 2017 by Coach in a deal worth £1.8bn. She had recently set up another venture with her husband named Frances Valentine, which was named after their daughter (the ‘Valentine’ part comes from her grandfather’s middle name). Kate Spade legally changed her name to Kate Valentine in 2016 to distinguish herself from her previous brand.
After selling the Kate Spade brand, the designer took almost a decade out of the fashion industry and focused on philanthropic work, including spending time working with the New York Center for Children.
Kate had an innate knowledge for what women wanted when it came to their accessories – at a time when handbags were functional, black or brown items, she was being playful and creative and this spirit has stayed with the brand and made owning a Kate Spade item a rite of passage for women across the world.
A representative at Kate Spade New York made the following statement: “We at Kate Spade New York just learned of the incredibly sad news that Kate Spade has passed. 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. Kate will be dearly missed. Our thoughts are with Andy and the entire Spade family at this time.”
Kate Spade was evidence of what can be achieved when you use your knowledge and experience and trust your instincts in business. We at Bridal Buyer are reflecting on what she told PEOPLE magazine in 2016: “Don’t rest on your laurels. The end result isn’t as important as the effort that goes into it. Jump all the way in. Don’t be afraid. And don’t worry so much.
“My dad always says ‘Just float.’ He’s very zen. Not every little pebble is a boulder. And it’s kind of how I approached [my new brand]. I feel a little less nervous. I should be more nervous, but I’m not going to take it so crazily hopefully.”
Image credits: shutterstock.com