Kate Spade, Dead At 55, Always Said Kansas City Helped Shape Her Life And Career

By Eric Adler, Joyce Smith, Jeneé Osterheldt And Mará Rose Williams
The Kansas City Star

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Spade, born in Kansas City on Christmas Eve 1962 with the middle name Noel, routinely returned to her hometown over the years, even after her name became synonymous with whimsical, colorful handbags sold around the world.

The Kansas City Star

From all outward appearances, fashion designer Kate Spade — raised in Kansas City as Katy Brosnahan in the years before her married name became a billion dollar brand — had it all.

Fame. Wealth. Friends. Family. A commitment to charity and helping others.

On Tuesday, the graduate of St. Teresa’s Academy who also attended the University of Kansas was found dead at 55 in her New York Park Avenue apartment from an apparent hanging suicide, police said. She leaves behind a 13-year-old daughter, Frances, as well as her husband, Andy Spade.

A housekeeper found Spade’s body in her bedroom hanging from a red scarf tied to a doorknob, police said. Spade was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:26 a.m.

Spade’s husband was in the house at the time. The couple’s daughter was at school, according to The Associated Press. A note was left at the scene and, according to the AP, tells Spade’s daughter that the death was not the young girl’s fault.

It remains unclear how long Spade had been dead before she was found. A medical examiner will perform an autopsy.

“We’re devastated and grieving. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kate’s family,” said Kelly Cole, president and CEO of Halls Kansas City. The department store was one of the first local retailers to sell Spade’s line. She also made numerous personal appearances there.

“She was a dynamo who positively impacted the fashion industry,” Cole said. “She created clothes and accessories for the modern customer. … She had a real love and respect for Kansas City.”

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