Fashion designer Kate Spade has been found dead in her New York apartment in an apparent suicide, police have said.
The 55-year-old American businesswoman was said to have been found by a housekeeper inside the apartment on Park Avenue in Manhattan’s Upper East Side at about 10.20am local time (3.30pm in the UK).
She was found hanged and left a note, The Associated Press reported, citing unnamed sources.
Image: Kate Spade designs featured at New York Fashion Week earlier in 2018
The New York Police Department confirmed her death under her birth name, Katherine Noel Brosnahan.
Spade began her career in 1986 as accessories editor at the now-closed Mademoiselle magazine, leaving in 1991.
But she was best-known for her handbag range, launched in 1993 with Andy Spade, who she married the following year.
Her designs, aimed at young working women at a time when the industry was dominated by Europe, were dominated by cheerful colours and prints and they saw her become one of the biggest names in US fashion.
In 1999, she told the New York Times she had been frustrated by the “over-accessorised” handbags of that era and wanted “a functional bag that was sophisticated and had some style”.
Image: One of Kate Spade’s famous bags
Her label Kate Spade New York has more than 140 shops and outlet stores across the US and more than 175 stores across the world.
It began by selling handbags before expanding to include clothing, jewellery, bedding and fragrances.
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
She sold the brand in 2006 and was no longer directly involved in the management of the company at the time of her death.
Kate Spade New York said in a statement: “Although Kate has not been affiliated with the brand for more than a decade, she and her husband and creative partner, Andy, were the founders of our beloved brand.
“Kate will be dearly missed.”
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Depression does not discriminate and comes without warning. RIP Kate Spade. Love to her family.National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
— josh groban (@joshgroban) June 5, 2018
In 2016, Spade, her husband and their creative partners launched Frances Valentine, which sells shoes and handbags directly to consumers online and through a handful of retailers including Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and Shopbop.
:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email email@example.com in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.