The Goods

“It’s Funny How a Purse Can Instantly Make You Feel Adult”

The flood of Kate Spade tributes on Twitter shows that her influence on women was about much more than just handbags.

Kate Spade bags on display at the Leopard Leopard Leopard Pop-Up Shop hosted by Kate Spade New York & Man Repeller on September 28, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Kate Spade New York)
Kate Spade bags on display at the Leopard Leopard Leopard Pop-Up Shop hosted by Kate Spade New York & Man Repeller on September 28, 2017 in New York City.
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Kate Valentine, better known as Kate Spade, died on Tuesday at age 55 in an apparent suicide. The fashion designer was most famous for her accessories, first at her namesake company and later at Frances Valentine, which she launched with husband Andy Spade in 2016 after taking a hiatus from fashion to focus on her family. Her admirers, including famous ones like Chelsea Clinton, Mindy Kaling, and Lena Dunham, took to Twitter to pay tribute to the designer after news of her death broke. Many recalled how it felt to purchase their first Kate Spade handbag or to receive one as a gift. “It’s funny how a purse can instantly make you feel like an adult,” wrote actress Olivia Munn. One of the most common threads in these remembrances is a sense that acquiring a Kate Spade felt, for many women, like their first real aspirational indulgence: a marker of the person they hoped they could become.