Kate Spade, founder and designer of the eponymous brand, was found dead Tuesday morning in her New York City apartment.

The designer was found by her housekeeper who had arrived at the Park Avenue apartment in Manhattan to find her “unresponsive”, a law enforcement official said.

Spade became one of American fashion’s most beloved, vibrant designers, opening its first store in New York in 1996, and now has more than 300 branches worldwide.

The brand is recognisable for its brightly coloured nylon bags which she launched her collection in 1993 with soon-to-be husband Andy Spade and distinctive logo which features the spades playing card symbol, in reference to the designer’s surname. 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).

In 2004, Spade summed up her brand to Vogue, “We’re not intimidating… I think some people get nervous about fashion because they find it a little scary. But fashion should be enjoyed; it shouldn’t be looked at from a jaded, been-there-done-that point of view”.

“Kate Spade had an enviable gift for understanding exactly what women the world over wanted to carry. She launched her label at a time when everyone thought that the definition of a handbag was strictly European, all decades-old serious status and wealth. Then along came this thoroughly American young woman who changed everything. There was a moment when you couldn’t walk a block in New York without seeing one of her bags, which were just like her; colourful and unpretentious. Kate designed with great charm and humor, and built a global empire that reflected exactly who she was and how she lived. Long before we talked about ‘authenticity’, she defined it.” – Anna Wintour

In the wake of the tragic news, fans of her work are sharing their condolences on social media. Here fellow designers, brands, retailers, and members of the fashion community remember her.

 

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