Kate Spade’s sister has opened up about the designer’s long struggle with mental illness

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  • Our thoughts are with her family.

    It was reported on Tuesday that iconic fashion designer Kate Spade had been found dead in her New York apartment, with the cause being apparent suicide.

    According to law enforcement officials, the 55-year-old was discovered dead by hanging inside her Park Avenue apartment by her housekeeping staff, having left behind a note, reportedly for her daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade.

    ‘Kate Spade, the visionary founder of our brand, has passed,’ announced Kate Spade New York on its official Instagram. ‘Our thoughts are with her family at this incredibly heartbreaking time. We honour all the beauty she brought into this world.’

    While celebrities and fashion houses have been coming out in force to pay tribute to the woman behind the brand, a lot of focus has been on mental health awareness, with Kate’s tragic death sparking important conversations.

    Kate’s sister, Reta Saffo, has since spoken out about her sister’s battle with mental illness, telling the Kansas City Star that the designer had suffered for the last three or four years, resistant to get help for fear that it could affect her brand.

    ‘I’d flown out to Napa and NYC several times in the past 3-4 years to help her to get the treatment she needed (inpatient hospitalization),’ wrote Saffo in her statement to the publication. ‘I’d come so VERY close to getting her to go in for treatment (to the same place Catherine Zeta-Jones went for her successful bipolar treatment program). I’d spoken with them on the phone (not telling them exactly who the patient would be). They agreed to fly in and talk with her and take her with them to the treatment center.’


    Explaining how Kate changed her mind at the last minute, Saffo continued: ‘In the end, the “image” of her brand (happy-go-lucky Kate Spade) was more important for her to keep up. She was definitely worried about what people would say if they found out.’

    She concluded: ‘After numerous attempts, I finally let go. Sometimes you simply cannot SAVE people from themselves!’

    Kate’s brother-in-law, David Spade, has also addressed the designer’s tragic death, taking to social media to pay tribute.

    ‘Katy at my book signing,’ he captioned a photo of the two of them together. ‘I love this pic of her. So pretty. I dont think everyone knew how fucking funny she was… Its a rough world out there people. Try to hang on.’

    Our thoughts are with Kate’s loved ones at this tragic time.

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