Kate Spade's close friend and business partner says the late designer left 4 seasons of completed work for her handbag company
- Kate Spade was found dead by suicide in her apartment in New York City on June 5. She was 55.
- She leaves behind her husband, Andy Spade, and a 13-year-old daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade.
- Kate had not been part of her namesake handbag label for more than a decade, but she was at the helm of a new accessories business she and Andy founded in 2015, called Frances Valentine.
- Her business partner and close friend, Elyce Arons, told Business Insider that the brand is determined to honor her legacy.
- The late designer left four seasons of completed work behind.
It's been a little over a week since news broke of Kate Spade's death by suicide. The 55-year-old designer was found dead in her apartment in New York City on June 5.
Since then, fans have been paying tribute to her work by posting messages on social media and sharing memories of the first time they bought a Kate Spade handbag - a brand that she hadn't been associated with for over a decade. Kate and Andy Spade sold their final stake in the Kate Spade brand to Neiman Marcus in 2006, and it subsequently changed hands twice. It's currently owned by Tapestry, the parent company of Coach.
Other fans are now wondering what will happen to her newer brand, Frances Valentine, which she founded in 2015 with her husband, Andy, and business partners Elyce Arons and Paola Venturi.
The brand has stayed relatively quiet in the past week, posting a tribute on social media and its website with a picture of the company's late creative director.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and founder, Kate Valentine Spade, who will remain in our hearts forever," the message said.
Both the founder-information and press-inquiry areas of Frances Valentine's website appear to have been taken down.
The company has also been inundated with messages on social media, and a day after Spade's death, all 25 handbags listed on Frances Valentine's website appeared to be sold out.
Arons, a close friend of Spade's who worked as head of operations at Spade's namesake handbag brand and then became a managing partner at Frances Valentine, told Business Insider that the company is determined to honor Spade's legacy.
"We don't know what the future holds for us, but we are determined to continue to make her beautiful work live on through Frances Valentine. We will be stronger for her, more connected to each other through her," Arons wrote in an email to Business Insider.
According to Arons, Spade left four seasons of completed and designed work behind, along with an "abundant library of her concepts."
The original design team from the early days at the Kate Spade brand is also now working for Frances Valentine, Arons said, along with Kate's husband, Andy, who starting working with his wife at Kate Spade full-time in 1996.
For now, the close-knit Frances Valentine is focused on processing the grief of what has happened and contacting the many customers who have been in touch to offer their sympathy.
"We have been inundated with calls and emails about product, but also about people's emotional connection to Kate. She was authentic and I think people sensed that and really felt close to her," Arons said.
Remembering Kate Spade:
- The Kate Spade brand became a household name because it did something other brands didn't
- 'You don't know me but I know you': After Kate Spade's death, people are sharing how the designer touched their lives through fashion
- Kate Spade shared how she wanted to be remembered in a 2002 interview
- Kate Spade was totally detached from her namesake brand
- Kate Spade leaves behind her husband and business partner. Here's what we know about their relationship.
- Kate Spade's fans are reacting to her apparent suicide with reminders about mental health
- Celebrities and fashion industry figures are reacting to Kate Spade's apparent suicide