Fashion industry icon Kate Spade found dead at age 55

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The fashion industry just lost an icon.

Kate Spade, founder and designer of the famed Kate Spade New York line of women’s accessories, was found dead in her New York City apartment on Tuesday at just 55. Her death was ruled a suicide.

Trendsetter tragedy

Spade’s body was discovered on Tuesday morning by her housekeeper, who found that the fashion mogul had apparently hanged herself with a scarf.

The housekeeper quickly alerted police, who discovered a suicide note addressed to both the designer’s daughter and her husband at the scene. The content of that note has yet to be released, though it is rumored that Spade wrote to her daughter that it wasn’t her fault.

Spade first found prominence in the fashion industry as the senior fashion editor for the magazine Mademoiselle. She later made the transition to being a designer, and found overwhelming success beginning in the 1990s.

She soon became known for designing fashionable, yet affordable women’s handbags, and eventually opened her own eponymous shop in New York City.

Kate Spade New York grew to encompass more than 140 retail shops in the United States, on top of an additional 175 retail shops in other countries around the world.

The making of a millionaire

Spade ultimately sold more than half of her brand to Neiman Marcus in 1999 for $33.6 million. The company was later acquired by Liz Claiborne in 2007, at which point Spade left the company. It was then announced in May 2017 that Coach intended to purchase the brand for $2.4 billion.

Spade’s former company released a statement expressing condolences to her family and loved ones.

“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 read.

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“Kate will be dearly missed,” the statement went on. “Our thoughts are with Andy and the entire Spade family at this time.”

The Council of Fashion Designers of America also released a statement on Spade’s death, writing: “She was a great talent who had an immeasurable impact on American fashion and the way the world viewed American accessories.”

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