The specifics of why Mrs. Spade less important than celebrating the woman’s work. How she came to make the first sketches of her bags from paper and scotch tape, to become a global fashion influence, is an amazing story. First with her most iconic accessory then branching out into home goods and luxury items, Spade was a culture star like very few others.
After studying journalism at Arizona State University Spade, known as Katherine Noel Brosnahan at the time, moved to NYC to become the assistant fashion editor at Mademoiselle. Five years later she was made accessories editor, where she got intimately acquainted with the handbags of the day, which she obviously thought she could make a mark in.
In 1993, she founded Kate Spade with her husband Andy, and a friend, Elyce Arons.
Naming her company from a combination of her and Andy’s name Kate came to see that her bags needed some extra ‘umph’ from her initial designs. She took the label, which originally had been on the inside of the bag, and sewed it to the outside.
Her brand identity was born and then there was no stopping Kate Spade.
Spade opened a SoHo shop, collected awards and eventually she and Andy sold their shares of the company to the Neiman Marcus Group. The year before that sale Kate Spade enjoyed $28 million in sales. The Spades went on to publishing, selling a bonanza of their style guides at the beginning of this century; named “Style,” “Manners” and “Occasions.”
“Kate Spade had an enviable gift for understanding exactly what women the world over wanted to carry,” Anna Wintour said in a statement about the lady.
Kate Spade is now no longer with us, but her legacy lives on.