The passing of Kate Spade, 55, is beyond tragic: The fashion icon and designer was found dead in her New York apartment by her housekeeper on June 5. Spade’s sister, Reta Saffo, claims Spade may have taken her own life because of a long struggle with mental illness.
Yet during her lifetime, many looked to Spade as someone who spread joy and light. You could see it in her designs: Her bags, earrings, and other accessories are bright and fun.
When I first heard the news, I was saddened — but when I heard she had taken her own life, I was shocked. You never know what someone is going through, even if they have touched so many in a positive way like Spade did. But inside, she had been struggling, which was something most of us never knew.
Her passing has inspired many people to share their first “Kate Spade experience,” and the stories are hitting us hard. Buying your first “Kate Spade” is not just about getting a purse; it’s about so much more. Such was the case with Heather Delaney, who posted her sweet story on Facebook about shopping for a Kate Spade bag with her daughter.
Delaney’s post, which has received over 2.6K reactions, describes a planned-out day with her daughter, Elle, to go purchase matching Kate Spade handbags. She wrote that she was so excited the night before, she couldn’t even sleep. As Delaney explains to Babble, her own first Kate Spade bag (a cute little orange crossbody) was purchased during a “Mommy and Daddy getaway” — and she wanted to do the same for her daughter.
“I had it pictured,” Delaney wrote in her post. “She would get the crossbody; I would get the full size. Brilliant. Let’s do this, Elle.”
But Elle had other plans and chose a pair of black earmuffs instead, which she still wears to this day, four years later.
Delaney tells Babble that she chalks the day up to a lesson learned – that Elle has “zero interest in matching mother/daughter purses and is very unique and independent creature.”
Regardless, Delaney says her daughter was so happy … and that her joy was contagious.
“Kate, I’m sorry that we could not bottle that up for you,” she wrote in her post. “I’m sorry that we could not bottle up every grin, every laughter, every happy heart that walked through your stores.”
With that, Delaney hit the nail on the head. Spade has made so many people smile over the years with her iconic designs, and now we are all left feeling helpless.
Spade’s death has affected so many of us — including myself. I purchased my first Kate Spade bag after I returned to work after staying home for almost 13 years to care for my children. When I look at my bag, it’s a symbol of empowerment that reminds me of how hard I worked to pursue my dream as a writer. It was the first big thing I bought for myself, and I’ll cherish it forever.
A lot of us can also relate to the sentiments Delaney shared in her post about how so many people are still in the dark about mental illness, or are scared to talk about it, ask for help, and look at it in its ugly face.
“I’m sorry that some are still scared by mental health, Kate,” wrote Delaney in her post. ‘I’m sorry that some don’t understand it. And I’m sorry that the world still doesn’t always allow us to talk openly about it, without fear of prejudice.”
Indeed, Spade’s life goes to show us all that no matter how successful, wealthy or powerful you become, you can still struggle with mental illness.
“You lived a life that others could only dream of,” Delaney wrote. “Powerhouse of a businesswoman. Wife. Mother. Owner of the most amazing apartment on Park Ave.”
But most importantly, Delaney says she also hopes that mental health will soon become less of a taboo topic.
“Until we give mental health the same respect we give physical health, we are failing those around us,” she tells Babble. “Be open about mental health. Check in with friends who seem strong. We never know who is fighting a battle. Kate Spade is proof of that,” she says.
More than anything, we are just sorry. So, so sorry to hear this news.
“So I’m sorry, Kate, that we could not gift you the happiness that was felt in this six year old’s body that day,” wrote Delaney. “Sat in that Kate Spade store. With her Kate Spade ‘cozy’ earmuffs. I kinda feel guilty now for feeling so much happiness that day, wondering now if you were perhaps sad that day.”
h/t: Fox News