*Trigger warning* this article contains reference to suicide

Kate Spade, the 55-year-old designer behind the beloved eponymous label, was found dead this morning in her Park Avenue apartment in New York City. Police believe Spade died by suicide.

Born Katherine Brosnahan in Kansas City, Missouri, Spade began her career at now-shuttered Mademoiselle magazine. She rose through the ranks to become senior fashion editor and head of the pub’s accessories department, eventually leaving to start her own line of women’s bags after noticing a gap in the market for accessories that were as pretty as they were practical.

By this time married to Andy Spade, she co-founded Kate Spade the label in 1993. Although it initially focused on just handbags, the brand quickly expanded to clothing and home goods, all with Spade’s signature colour and quirk. The company opened its first boutique in 1996 and by 1999 had become so successful that
the Neiman Marcus Group acquired a 56% stake. Neiman Marcus later purchased the remaining 44%, then sold the company to Liz Claiborne Inc. Most recently, Kate Spade was sold to the Coach group for $2.4 billion in 2016. By this time, however, Spade herself had exited the company to pursue other ventures, including a new accessories label, Frances Valentine, which launched in 2016.

In addition to her husband, Spade leaves behind a 13-year old-daughter named Frances.

Via a spokesperson, the brand Kate Spade has released a statement that says, in part: “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. Our thoughts are with Andy and the entire Spade family at this time.”

As news of her passing hit the fashion world, tributes to the designer began pouring in.

Rest in peace, Kate Spade.

If you are in crisis, please reach out to Canada’s National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-833-456-4566, 24 hours a day.