Today we are saddened to find out that the influential designer Kate Spade was found dead. For someone known for an elegance associated with brightness and a certain smart yet playful style- it’s painful to think of such a voice being extinguished.
Kansas City, Missouri native Spade, who recently legally changed her name to Kate Valentine was an answer to an unspoken sartorial prayer: smart, put-together clothing with a quirky flair. Distinguished while not shying away from femininity, Kate helped women in the 1990s and early 2000s realize that to be taken seriously in the workplace doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have massive shoulder pads, dress like a man, or wear uncomfortable heels.
It really started with a handbag. The quest for an attractive yet practical tote, often a woman’s rolling office, medicine cabinet, and make-up bag, was the driving force behind the start of her eponymous brand.
She grew Kate Spade into what we would call today a fully fledged lifestyle brand: including a home and jewellery line. In the process she became much more than a designer: she became a woman to admire for her unique blend of tastemaking and business acumen. Not unlike a Diane von Furstenberg, Tory Burch or Donna Karan.
As recently as 2015 she was named amongst Creative People in Business by Fast Company and inducted into the University of Missouri-Kansas City Hall of Entrepreneur Hall of Fame this past year.
She was someone to look up to and will be dearly missed. Our condolences go out to her family and everyone whose lives she touched.