Kate Spade: Fashion designer found dead in New York home

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Kate Spade: Fashion designer found dead in New York home

Designer Kate Spade attends AOL Build Series to discuss her latest project Frances Valentine at Build Studio on April 28, 2017Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe company the designer founded has stores all around the world

Fashion designer Kate Spade has been found dead in her New York apartment.

Police are investigating her death as an apparent suicide.

She was found dead in her Park Avenue apartment in Manhattan at 10:20 local time (14:20 GMT) by her housekeeper, a law enforcement official said.

Spade – who once edited fashion magazine Mademoiselle – was well known as a designer of clothes, shoes, and jewellery, but was best known for her accessory line.

She co-founded Kate Spade Handbags in 1993 with husband Andy Spade. The company – whose stated aim was to design the perfect handbag – opened its first store in New York in 1996, and now has more than 300 branches worldwide.

It is recognisable for its distinctive logo which features the spades playing card symbol, in reference to the designer’s surname.

The company’s bright and colourful patterned designs became a trademark of its products.

Kate Spade shopping bag held by a shopperImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Kate Spade sold her namesake brand in 2007.

It was bought last year by New York rival designer Coach in a deal worth $2.4bn (£1.8bn).

She and her husband then set up another design venture, Frances Valentine, named after their daughter.

Kate Spade legally changed her name to Kate Valentine (Valentine was her grandfather’s middle name) in 2016 to “separate the two worlds”.

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Quirky fun and country club

By Natalie Sherman, BBC News business reporter, New York

In the 25 years since Kate Spade’s founding, the name has become a byword for a certain preppy style.

The former fashion editor told the New York Times she was looking for function, sophistication and “some style” when she launched her line of handbags in 1993, uninspired by other purses of the era.

Her look – bright colours and clear lines – quickly gained traction, appearing on the shelves of upmarket New York department stores like Barney’s.

In 1999, Neiman Marcus took a majority stake, sealing the firm’s ascendance in the fashion world and as a brand that embodied quirky fun, without straying too far from the country club.

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The New York Police Department confirmed the 55 year old’s death under her birth name, Katherine Noel Brosnahan.

The designer left behind a note, police said, but declined to discuss its contents.

News of her death has led to many tributes to her work.

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Where to get help

From Canada or US: If you’re in an emergency, please call 911. If you or someone you know is suffering with mental health issues, call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868. If you’re in the US, you can text HOME to 741741

From UK: Call Samaritans on 116123 or Childline on 0800 1111

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