America's former first daughter paid homage to one of the country's most famous fashion designers on her untimely death. On Tuesday, Chelsea Clinton remembered Kate Spade, writing on Twitter, "My grandmother gave me my first Kate Spade bag when I was in college. I still have it. Holding Kate's family, friends, and loved ones in my heart." Clinton's condolences comes shortly after law enforcement authorities reported that the 55-year-old Spade was found dead in an apparent suicide in her New York apartment.
A New York Police Department source told CNN that there was a note found at the scene but the details within it remain unspecified. The police source also said that that Spade's body was found hanging from her Park Avenue bedroom's door with a scarf. According to law enforcement authorities, Spade's body was first found by a housekeeper who then alerted the police.
Shortly after the news emerged, prominent figures such as Clinton as well as current White House adviser and President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, shared their condolences for Spade. Clinton also shared a tweet from photographer Pete Halvorsen who said: "A reminder 'success' does not equal happiness. Depression does not care about your age, status or bank account." He also shared contact information for The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Additionally, Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb of the Council of Fashion Designers of America shared a statement on Spade's death and said, "She was a great talent who had an immeasurable impact on American fashion and the way the world viewed American accessories."
Last year, in February, Spade and her husband Andy Spade went on NPR's show, How I Built This, and talked about the adventures behind building her clothing and accessories company. But Spade didn't always plan on becoming one of the world's most recognized designer. While speaking with NPR host Guy Raz, she revealed that she gained her bachelor's degree in journalism from Arizona State University and had planned to become a member of the media. But then she met her husband, Andy, and decided to work in fashion as an assistant.
According to their interview, they remained together for three decades. Spade began her journey in fashion as an assistant for a senior fashion editor at Conde Nast. Her job involved all sorts of tasks, even including tying the shoelaces for models who couldn't bend over due to their dresses, grabbing Snickers for hairstylists, and more. "It was a lot of work. I'll say that," Spade laughed in her NPR interview.
Several years later, an idea struck her husband. "So, Andy and I were out, honestly, at a Mexican restaurant," Spade said, "and he just said, what about handbags? And I said, honey, you just don't start a handbag company. And he said, why not? How hard can it be?"
"I thought, OK, really?" Spade laughed. "He regrets those words."
Because of her professional history as an assistant for a fashion editor, Spade learned the art of resourcefulness. The idea was, she told Raz, to never say no to getting a job done no matter what it demanded of you. That kind of strategizing and planning taught her the trade of starting her very own enterprise one day. The rest is history.
With her handbags, Spade ushered many women into adulthood with a sense of confidence and efficiency. That seems to be the recurring sentiment from today's condolences. In one instance, journalist and Matter of Fact host Soledad O'Brien retweeted Clinton and said, "Kate Spade donated handbags to our scholars, so they'd show up at their internships looking great and feeling great."
"They always downplayed their gift, and maybe this sounds silly," O'Brien added, "but it was a big deal for our young women to show up to an important gig with a great bag."
With Clinton's small tribute to Spade, many observers may have felt compelled to think how the designer's handbags influenced the lives of young women, especially the level of their self-assurance.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. For international resources, here is a good place to begin.