Slideshow: Kate Spade handbags through the years - KCTV5 News

Slideshow: Kate Spade handbags through the years

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Guest at the NYF Tents displays a bag by kate Spade on the Streets of Manhattan on September 9, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images) Guest at the NYF Tents displays a bag by kate Spade on the Streets of Manhattan on September 9, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
Designer Kate Spade attends AOL Build Series to discuss her latest project Frances Valentine at Build Studio on April 28, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/FilmMagic) Designer Kate Spade attends AOL Build Series to discuss her latest project Frances Valentine at Build Studio on April 28, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/FilmMagic)

(Meredith) -- Fashion designer Kate Spade made a name for herself after launching a successful line of handbags in the 1990s and early 2000s.

[Click here to view handbag slideshow]

Early life

Spade (Katherine Noel Brosnahan) was born on Christmas Eve, 1962 in Kansas City, Missouri.

In 1985, she earned a degree in journalism at Arizona State University and jumped into Mademoiselle magazine in New York City.

She worked her way up to senior fashion editor for the magazine, before leaving to start her own line in 1991. 

Starting her dream 

After two years working independently, Spade launched her own brand of handbags in 1993 named "kate spade handbags". Her bags were described as being modern, sleek and utilitarian for women according to biography.com.

In 1994, she married her college sweetheart Andy Spade, who partnered with her company and administered day-to-day operations.

In 1996, The Kate Spade brand opened its first boutique, a shop located in Manhattan's trendy SoHo district. 

Kate Spade went on to offer products in a range of categories, from eyewear to shoes to paper goods, in more than 450 stores globally. 

Her memoirs 

In the early 2000s, Spade wrote three books on her philosophies and personal style: MannersOccasions, and Style.

In 2006, Spade and her husband decided to sell the Kate Spade brand for $124 million, so she could spend more time at home raising their child. 

By 2014, Fifth & Pacific changed its name to Kate Spade & Company to keep its brand name products. 

Only three years later, Coach, Inc. purchased the Kate Spade & Company brand for $2.4 billion. 

Before her death in 2018, Kate Spade New York had more than 200 retail shops in the U.S. and worldwide. 

Legacy

Spade won several accolades for her creative works and bag branding.

In 1996, she was awarded  "America's New Fashion Talent in Accessories" for her classic handbag designs, by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. 

In 1999, the Cooper Hewitt Museum showcased Spade's handbags, celebrating American design excellence.

In 2017, she entered the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

In that same year, she was named one of the Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company.

On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, the designer was found dead in her apartment of an apparent suicide, according to police. She was 55 years old. 

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