Kate Spade’s longtime business partner and close friend Elyce Arons has confirmed Spade's newer handbag company, Frances Valentine, will continue to honor Spade’s legacy.
Fashion designer Kate Spade, known best for the eponymous line she eventually sold, committed suicide last week in her New York City apartment.
Since then, fans have been paying tribute to the 55-year-old on social media – mostly recalling their own Kate Spade handbags, a brand she had not been associated with for more than a decade. Kate Spade and her husband Andy Spade sold their final stake in the Kate Spade brand to Neiman Marcus in 2006. Currently, the brand is owned by the same company that owns Coach.
In 2015, Kate and Andy Spade started the brand Frances Valentine with business partners Elyce Arons and Paola Venturi.
Arons told Business Insider that Kate left them with approximately four seasons of completed designs and “abundant library of her concepts.”
"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. We will be stronger for her, more connected to each other through her," Arons wrote in an email to Business Insider.
The brand posted a heartfelt message on its website honoring the late founder.
"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.
After news broke of Spade’s suicide, all 25 handbags listed on the Frances Valentine website sold out.
"We have been inundated with calls and emails about product, but also about people's emotional connection to Kate. She was authentic and I think people sensed that and really felt close to her," Arons said.
Arons, the company’s managing partner, told Business Insider the original design team from the early years of Kate Spade’s namesake brand and Kate’s husband, Andy, are all currently at Frances Valentine.