The story behind designer Kate Spade's million-dollar empire 2The story behind designer Kate Spade's million-dollar empire 2

Starting point of Designer Kate Spade – Fashion accessories editor

Designer Kate Spade was born in Kansas in 1962, her real name is Kate Noel Brosnahan.

Portrait of Kate Spade.

In 1993, in her own apartment, Kate Spade decided to try her hand at designing handbags from tape and cardboard.

Quick success

Handbags made from nylon material bearing the logo `Kate Spade New York` quickly emerged because of their simplicity, sturdy shape, and many color options.

The story behind designer Kate Spade's million-dollar empire

Kate Spade’s famous bag models.

New York’s business women were truly impressed by Kate Spade bags.

“Those bags have almost become handshakes,” said Christina Binkley, fashion editor of the Wall Street Journal.

The story behind designer Kate Spade's million-dollar empire

Model carries Kate Spade’s signature Sam bag.

Kate Spade, designer of joy

The story behind designer Kate Spade's million-dollar empire

(Photo: shutterstock)

Kate Spade’s personal style is a mix of old and new, high and low, with an emphasis on bright colors and bold prints, and it shows directly in her designs.

The story behind designer Kate Spade's million-dollar empire

Fun bag designs from the Kate Spade New York brand.

Recently, Kate’s sister shared with The Kansas City Star newspaper that the designer was even reluctant to seek treatment for her psychological problems because she was worried that hospitalization would affect her cheerful image.

Spade itself calls its brand design ethos  “distorted classic.”

“I mean, there are so many classic styles out there, and I don’t necessarily want a basic one anymore if I already own it.”, Kate said.

Kate Spade has turned its name into a global brand with not only handbags, but also shoes, accessories, and basic apparel in a diverse color palette accented with floral, striped, and leopard prints.

The story behind designer Kate Spade's million-dollar empire

A Kate Spade product launch at Grand Central Park.

“We don’t scare anyone,” Kate affirmed.

A beloved colleague and wife

“Kate is truly the girl next door,” shared Léonard Lauder, former Chairman of Estée Lauder.

Both Spade and his wife received attention from media throughout New York.

Kate and Andy Spade.

Ten months before the designer’s sudden departure, the two began to live separately, but still kept a close distance from each other, raising their beautiful daughter together.

“Legally, we have not separated and have never even mentioned divorce,” Andy said about his relationship with his wife and close friend of 35 years.

Stock transactions and new beginnings

In 1999, the Spade couple sold 56% of the company’s shares to the Neiman Marcus group and seven years later sold the remainder to designer Liz Clairborne.

In 2017, designer Kate returned to the fashion industry. The first thing she did was legally change her name to Kate Valentine instead of Kate Noel Brosnahan.

Images from Frances Valentine’s promotional campaign (Photo: Frances Valentine)

However, Frances Valentine has not received the same success and praise as the first product line that Kate created – although the quality of the two brands is similar, they still have modern, minimalist designs

Kate Spade, the name still resonates forever

Until today, after designer Kate passed away, people still only know Kate Spade, not Kate Valentine.

(Photo: Getty Image)

Family is everything, `Spade` is the name Kate chose for herself as a wife, not simply as a designer.

In a 1999 interview in the New York Times, designer Kate recalled the moment when she and her boyfriend decided on a name for the label.

The name “sang,” the newspaper wrote correctly.

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