Kate Spade died today. Ever since I found out I've not been able to stop thinking about it. For many reasons. It's tragic. She was fifty-five. She has a young daughter. She was a person.
And an inspirational one.
Kate Brosnahan Spade, like me, was from Kansas City. I have a deep love of Midwesterners, and especially Midwesterners who leave. That may sound rude but when you're twelve years old in Missouri, you feel like New York City is a million miles away (it isn't, it's about 1,192 miles away). She felt relatable in a way that other people I idolized didn't. I love Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor. Those women are icons but very much untouchable ones. They occupied a different space. Kate was different. She was from my hometown and chic; she worked hard, created her own company, and became a household name. That felt attainable. It still does.
Kate also became a household name in my middle school years, and I highly coveted a Kate Spade bag of my very own. I coveted it because it was beautiful in a way that my clear smiley face backpack wasn't. I coveted it because it would be perfect to take to middle school dances, shopping at the mall, and sitting on my bed (it looked good anywhere), and perfect to store my Nokia cell phone, Bonne Bell/Lip Smackers lip gloss, Tommy Hilfiger perfume, scrunchies, and my dELiA*s jewelry (I really miss those 1990s and early 2000s fashion). A Kate Spade bag was also something you could save for and get, especially on a middle school allowance, or what your parent would be willing to spend money on for a birthday gift. I remember receiving my little black rectangular nylon kate spade new york bag (tell me you know exactly the one I'm talking about). It was everything. It was only after getting my bag did I find out that Kate Spade of kate spade was from Kansas City. I was a fan of the brand beforehand but was totally head over heels in love with Kate Spade herself after that.
I have a lot of nostalgia wrapped up in Kate Spade. I think you might too. I think you remember your first Kate Spade, whether it be from when she was still a part of the company, or whether it's from the company who carried on her whimsy and vision. Kate Spade never felt unattainable to me. This wasn't Louis Vuitton. This was unpretentious. This was Kate.
I spent the afternoon watching and listening to Kate Spade interviews, reading articles, and thumbing through her books (do y'all still have your style, occasions, and manners books?). It felt nice to see her, hear her, and live in her world for a bit, and I’m thankful we occupied the planet for a bit together.
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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (United States), 1-800-273-8255
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