My heart is broken. By now I’m sure you’ve heard the news—fashion designer Katie Spade died at home this morning. The 55-year-old designer took her own life. My heart is so heavy for her daughter, Bea, only 13 years old, and her husband, Andy. What a beautiful soul the world has lost.
Of the many talented people I’ve had the privilege to interview over my four years editing Matchbook magazine, Kate was by far my favorite (for those interested, I’ve re-published the interview here). I’ll never forget the morning my friend Jane and I arrived at Kate and Andy’s Upper East Side apartment. I was so nervous. We were about to meet our design heroes!
Kate swung open the door with a smile, introducing herself as “Katy” (as her friends and family called her) and immediately put us at ease. She was so warm, humble, and kind, with a great sense of humor. She remained barefoot despite Andy’s teasing that she should put on some shoes for the photographs. After years spent idolizing her brand, I was so happy to see firsthand that Kate Spade was every bit as wonderful as I’d imagined. There were no pretentious airs about her–she was just her gracious self. Kate lit up every time she mentioned her daughter and joked that Bea didn’t know her mom was famous: “Why is your name on your shoes?” she would ask Kate. Often when we featured designers they would be on a tight time schedule or have lots of opinions on what we discussed and photographed. Not with Kate and Andy. We were there for several hours, chatting about books, art, and family, and sharing lots of laughs.
Upon hearing the news of Kate’s suicide, many online have expressed disbelief and asked “why?” Kate had a beautiful family, a gorgeous home, and she’d successfully built a great American fashion empire–but clearly, things aren’t always what they seem. People may seem like they “have it all,” but mental health pays no mind to such things.
If you struggle with depression and need urgent help, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Help is there and you are not alone.
Rest in peace, Kate Spade. You have touched many more than you know.
(Photography by Jamie Beck for Matchbook Magazine)