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|Born||Katherine Noel Brosnahan
December 24, 1962
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
|Education||Arizona State University (B.S. – 1985)|
|Occupation||Fashion designer, businesswoman|
|Known for||Creator of "kate spade New York" brand|
|Spouse(s)||Andy Spade (m. 1994–present)|
Spade was born in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated from St. Teresa's Academy, an all-girl Catholic high school. She attended the University of Kansas and then transferred to and graduated from Arizona State University, joined Kappa Kappa Gamma and graduated with a degree in journalism in 1985. Spade is of Irish descent.
In 1986, Spade worked in the accessories department of Mademoiselle in Manhattan, where she was credited in the magazine's masthead with her maiden name as Katy Brosnahan. While at Mademoiselle, she met and moved in with Andy Spade (brother of actor and comic David Spade), a native of Scottsdale, Arizona; the two were working side-by-side as salespersons in a men's clothing store, Carter's Men Shop in Phoenix, Arizona. Together, they were featured in the magazine as part of a photo story on couples in love. She left Mademoiselle in 1991, with the title of senior fashion editor/head of accessories. While working for Mademoiselle she noticed that the market lacked stylish and sensible handbags, and decided to create her own.
Spade and Andrew Spade launched the New York-based design company "kate spade handbags" in January 1993. As the name implies, they initially sold mainly handbags, but eventually extended to clothing to jewelry, shoes, stationery, eyewear, baby, fragrance, tabletop, bedding and gifts. In 1996 Kate Spade opened its first boutique, a 400-square-foot shop located in Manhattan's trendy SoHo district, and moved its headquarters into a 10,000-square-foot space in West 25th Street. In 2004, "kate spade at home" was launched as a home collection brand. It features bedding, bath items, china, wallpaper and various items for the home. She also shared about her personal style and philosophies in her three books: Manners, Occasions, and Style. The brand went international in 2004, when a store was opened in Aoyama, Tokyo, Japan.
After selling the Kate Spade brand in 2006, Spade took time off to raise her daughter. In 2016 Kate Spade launched a new brand called Frances Valentine, a collection of luxury footwear and handbags.
Kate Spade & Co
The Spades sold Kate Spade to Neiman Marcus Group in 1999. Neiman Marcus then sold the Kate Spade label for $124 million to Fifth & Pacific in 2006, formerly known as Liz Claiborne. In February 2014 Craig Leavitt became the CEO of Kate Spade & Co., which is a lifestyle accessories and fashion brand.
Kate Spade New York has over 140 retail shops and outlet stores across the United States, and more than 175 shops internationally. Their products are sold in more than 450 stores worldwide, in every time zone and on every continent. The company grew to include several retail outlets as well as selling their products through such high-end stores as Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus.
In 1996 the Council of Fashion Designers of America awarded Kate "America's New Fashion Talent in Accessories" for her classic designs. In 1998, CFDA once again honored her for "Best Accessory Designer of the Year". In 1999, Spade was honored when her handbags were exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt Museum for the first national design triennial, celebrating American design excellence. Spade's home collection won her three design awards in 2004, including, House Beautiful's "Giants of Design Award for Tastemaker", Bon Appetit's "American Food and Entertaining Award for Designer of the Year", and Elle Decor's "Elle Decor International Design Award for Bedding".
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