Kate Spade’s lasting legacy: The legion of stars, including Reese Witherspoon, Taylor Swift, and Drew Barrymore, who have proudly worn the late designer’s namesake brand over the years
- Spade, 55, was found dead inside her Manhattan apartment on Tuesday morning
- Dozens of stars have posted tributes to the late designer on Twitter
- Even more have worn her eponymous label over the past few decades
- Celebrity fans include Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherpoon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Taylor Swift, America Ferrera, Mandy Moore, and Kerry Washington
As celebrity tributes pour in for designer Kate Spade, the strongest statement of her impact on the fashion industry and the world is not the number of tweets remembering her, but the number of fashion-lovers who’ve worn her label.
Spade, 55, was found dead inside her Manhattan apartment on Tuesday morning, and within hours of news of her suicide hitting the internet, dozens of her famous devoted fans shared kind words about the designer.
But many have shown their love and appreciation over the years by wearing clothes and accessories from her eponymous label, Kate Spade New York.
Awful: Tributes are pouring in after designer Kate Spade was found dead by apparent suicide on Tuesday
Famous: Her namesake brand has countless celebrity fans, including Reese Witherspoon — who is pictured in a Kate Spade New York top while out in Los Angeles in March 2015
Chic: Olivia Wilde donned a bow blouse in 2015, while Drew Barrymore wore a Kate Spade New York jumpsuit in 2013
Red carpet ready: Kerry Washington wore the brand on the red carpet at The Variety Studio: Awards Edition on November 28, 2012
Young fans: Bella Thorne looked pretty in pink in a Kate Spade dress on February 11, 2014, while Millie Bobby Brown wore another Kate Spade dress on December 12, 2016
Love the style: Zooey wore both a dress and a clutch from the brand at the LA premiere of Winnie the Pooh in 2011
Black and white beauties: Taylor Swift is pictured in one of the brand’s dresses in 2012, and Emma Roberts in 2011
When Kate started the label with her husband Andy in the early ’90s, it was just a handbag brand — which they later grew into a fashion empire.
The Spades put their own money into the line, showing Kate’s designs at trade shows until they received orders from the likes of Barneys and Fred Segal.
Though they never gifted the bags to celebrities — as so many brands do for exposure, hoping the stars will be photographed with their bags, shoes, or dresses — they soon found themselves in Vogue and earned famous famous organically.
Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow were said to be Kate Spade shoppers, buying bags for themselves.
And over the years, the brand’s status as a favorite in Hollywood only grew. By the time Kate and Andy sold Kate Spade New York to Neiman Marcus in 2006, it was iconic.
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Quirky: Lauren Conrad wore a more whimsical Kate Spade dress in 2012
Designs: Janelle Monáe’s wore a coat by the brand a Pepsi event in 2017, while Ellie Kemper’s dress, bag, and heels were all Kate Spade for a visit to the brand’s pop-up in 2017
Face: Anna Kendrick — pictured in a dress, bag, and pumps by Kate Spade New York in 2014 — was also a spokesmodel for the brand
Two-piece: Holland Roden and Freida Pinto both pictured in Kate Spade tops and skirts in 2015
Prints: Mandy Moore’s leopard dress at this 2017 address was by Kate Spade New York
Nice: America Ferrera wore Kate Spade at least twice in 2017, picking a dress in August and a blazer and pants by the brand in May
In the years since, dozens of actors, models, singers, and reality stars have been photographed wearing the brand on the red carpet, including Taylor Swift, Janelle Monáe, Reese Witherspoon, Zooey Deschanel, Lauren Conrad, Ellie Kemper and Emma Roberts.
There’s also Millie Bobby Brown, her Stranger Things co-star Natalia Dyer, Bella Thorne, Freida Pinto, Brittany Snow, Laverne Cox, America Ferrera, Mandy Moore, Ashley Benson, Anika Noni Rose, and Maddie Zeigler.
Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Lopez are fans, as are Olivia Palermo, Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams, Kerry Washington, Olivia Wilde, Zendaya, Jessica Alba, and Minka Kelly.
Even Kate and Pippa Middleton are fans, having both worn Kate Spade dresses on a number of occasions.
And that’s just some of the famous faces who have been photographed wearing easily-identifiable Kate Spade designs.
Matchy: Maisie Williams picked a Kate Spade New York top, shorts, and bag for a 2015 TV appearance
Fun: Zendaya looked pretty in her Kate Spade dress in 2012, while Maddie Zeigler looked cute in her sweater by the brand in 2017
Florals: Ariel Winter wore a dress by the brand in the summer of 2014
Star-studded: Jessica Alba and Minka Kelly both wore Kate Spade New York to an event for the brand in 2012
Black: Isla Fisher seen in a Kate Spade New York dress in London in 2017
Gorgeous: Ashley Benson wore Kate Spade New York to the 2017 CFDA Fashion Awards, while Anika Noni Rose wore Kate Spade New York dress at Hollywood Today Live in 2017
Several more have declared themselves fans online. Jenna Bush Hager tweeted, ‘I will never forget the first Kate Spade bag I got for Christmas in college. She was a trailblazer. Her life and death are a reminder that pain doesn’t discriminate. Sending love to her family.’
Mindy Kaling, Bette Midler, Savannah Guthrie, Lucy Hale, Jameela Jamil, Chelsea Clinton, and Ivanka Trump tweeted, too, as did Beth Behrs, Cara Santana, and many more.
‘Kate Spade was more than a designer. She had a quirky visual language that captivated Bat Mitzvah girls and artists alike,’ wrote Lena Dunham. ‘She was also a staple of NYC who spread good will. My heart breaks for her family. Thank you, Kate, from one of the millions you made feel beautiful.’
There were also many celebrity spokespeople for Kate Spade over the years. including Anna Kendrick, Bernadette Peters, Zosia Mamet, Jourdan Dunn, Karlie Kloss, Iris Apfel, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anna Faris, and Rosie Perez.
Famous and nonfamous fans alike were saddened by the news of her death on Tuesday.
Laverne Cox (second from left), Brittany Snow (second from right), and Natalia Dyer (far right) wore the brand to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Show and Tea at Chateau Marmont at Chateau Marmont on October 25, 2017
Kelly Bensimon and Helena Christensen both posed with Kate Spade at the holiday celebration and book launch she hosted in 2005
Friends star Courteney Cox is seen posing with Kate, Andy, and David Spade at an event at Fred Segal in West Hollywood in 2006
The popular designer committed suicide, according to an NYPD spokesperson, is survived by her husband Andy (who is the brother of actor David Spade) and her 13-year-old daughter Frances.
Kate was also the aunt of Rachel Brosnahan, the star of the Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Though her line started with just bags, she eventually expanded to clothing and home goods by 2004. Her husband Andy also launched a men’s line of bags, Jack Spade, in 1996, which is still sold at stores such as Barneys.
Neiman Marcus purchased 56 per cent of the company in 1999, and the remaining 44 per cent by 2006, at which time Kate left the business to raise her daughter. By then, the company was valued at $125 million.
In the decade since she sold her ownership Kate Spade has continued to grow, and in 2017 the brand was purchased by coach for an astonishing $2.4 billion.
May 2017: Pippa Middleton packed two Kate Spade dresses for her Australian honeymoon
Glam: Kate Middleton was seen in a pair of red chandelier earrings by the brand as she attended the opening of the musical 42nd Street on the West End in April 2017
Royal: The duchess also chose a Kate Spade dress for an outing at an event to promote World Mental Health Day in October 2016 (left), and another in November 2017
Tragic: Kate, pictured with her husband Andy in April last year, was found dead in her New York apartment today after an apparent suicide. The couple co-founded the label in 1993
Kate had just recently tried to reenter the fashion world with the launch of Frances Valentine, a line of luxury handbags and shoes. The couple took no investors and focused on slowly rolling out the brand in select markets.
In an interview with WWD in 2015, she discussed how she came to name the brand, stating: ‘My grandfather, father, brother, and my daughter’s name is Frances. And then Valentine was my mom’s dad’s middle name because he was born on Valentine’s Day.’
The line was sold at Nordstrom, Saks, and Bloomingdales.
She was twice honored by the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1996 as an emerging accessories designer to watch and again in 1998 as the best accessories designer of the year.
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