On June 5, the world learned of the tragic passing of designer Kate Spade. The American fashion powerhouse and creator of a label built on stylish cheeriness committed suicide at her Manhattan home, leaving legions of fans shocked and heartbroken.
WATCH BELOW: Remembering Kate Spade
Almost immediately, virtual tributes flooded social media and the hashtag #MyFirstKateSpade took off, with women sharing the Kate Spade-branded items that helped them make their first forays into their professional lives, as well as their relationship with fashion.
Stylish yet accessible, Spade first launched her label with handbags, and later expanded into fashion and home accessories, at a time when the ne plus ultra of New York style statements was an expensive European handbag. But her inimitable American style, one that blended subtlety, chicness and a touch of whimsy, was exactly what the early-1990s working gal was looking for.
When I first got a job with a livable wage, one of my first purchases was a Kate Spade. I was so proud that I could buy something for MYSELF that was a better quality and more of an investment than the bags I'd been carrying. This is so sad.
— Jonquilyn Hill (@jonquilynhill) June 5, 2018
True story: One of my dreams was to own a #KateSpade handbag & I vowed that if I ever made the NY Times Best Seller List, I would buy one. When AVIATOR'S WIFE made the list, I did – here's the photo I sent to my editor when I bought it. pic.twitter.com/p2QPjKavt2
— Melanie Benjamin (@MelanieBen) June 5, 2018
My grandmother gave me my first Kate Spade bag when I was in college. I still have it. Holding Kate’s family, friends and loved ones in my heart.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) June 5, 2018
Other tributes came pouring in since news broke about Spade’s death, including notes and flowers left in front of her eponymous Madison Avenue boutique. Despite the fact that the designer hadn’t been affiliated with her namesake label since 2006, fans still felt the need to connect with the name Kate Spade.
“RIP to an iconic and outstanding woman,” read one note.
Another said: “I’m so sad + so sorry. Thank you for bringing so much colour and beauty to our lives,”
Others nodded to mental illness, and the importance of both seeking help and supporting one another: “Our lives are as fragile as dragonfly wings. Look after each other.”
A visit to the website of her latest design endeavour, Frances Valentine, a line of fashion bags, shoes and jewelry named after her daughter, shows that nearly all the new arrivals are sold out.
The line is a testament to the designer’s cheery and irreverent style, featuring bright colours, whimsical embellishments and practical silhouettes. Although Frances Valentine, which launched in 2015, didn’t quite take the fashion world by storm like Kate Spade did three decades ago, it’s clear that fashion consumers are still eager to get a slice of Spade’s unique vision.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) all offer ways for getting help if you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues.
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