Kate Spade's close friend and business partner says the late designer left 4 seasons of completed work for her handbag company

Facebook/Frances ValentineKate Spade was running Frances Valentine, a handbag-and-shoe company, when she died.
  • 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 at the time of her death, 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 the brand was determined to honour her legacy.
  • The late designer left behind four seasons of completed work, Arons said.

It’s been a little over a week since news broke of Kate Spade’s death. The 55-year-old designer was found dead by suicide 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 handbag from Kate Spade New York, though she hadn’t been associated with that brand for over a decade at the time of her death. She and her husband sold their final stake in the brand to Neiman Marcus in 2006, and it subsequently changed hands twice. It’s now 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 Spade, and her 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 the 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 her namesake handbag brand and later became a managing partner at Frances Valentine, told Business Insider the company was determined to honour 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,” Arons said in an email to Business Insider. “We will be stronger for her, more connected to each other through her.”

Arons said Spade left behind four seasons of completed and designed work, along with an “abundant library of her concepts.”

The original design team from the early days of the Kate Spade brand is also now working for Frances Valentine, Arons said, along with Andy Spade, who started working with his wife at Kate Spade New York 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,” Arons said. “She was authentic, and I think people sensed that and really felt close to her.”

Remembering Kate Spade:

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