Image: © Kate Spade Photo, Pinterest
Today at The Atelier, I had every intention of writing about a new piece of creative inspiration. But, sometimes news completely stops you in your tracks. For anyone who dares to pursue a creative dream (including but certainly not limited to: fine art, music, theater, writing, architectural design, dance and fashion design), it takes a lot of gumption. Kate Spade not only had gumption, but she had a best friend quality that emanated from herself and into her designs. Like any typical Tuesday, I was on a quick coffee break when I received a text from my Mom (she’s back in the United States) that Kate Spade had passed away from suicide. Immediately I was shocked, devastated and sadly reminded of the deaths of Alexander McQueen and L’Wren Scott (both very success creative business individuals), who also took their own lives in 2010 and 2014.
© Image: Kyle Ericksen/Penske Media/REX/Shutterstock Photo
When I think of Kate Spade (the Woman), I not only think of her cheery bags, polka-dot stationary and feminine shoes, but I’m reminded of a certain zest for life that is often forgotten as we progress into adulthood. I remember late in high school, receiving my first Kate Spade bag (it was the 2000s and I was gifted her Sam Box Bag and wallet, it was some kind of crushed wool or denim-ish material with white flowers on it). Later that year, I saved up all of my babysitting, hostess and cashier job (I worked three jobs, including at a local gift shop) to splurge on a pair of black satin Kate Spade bow tie heels -that I have had re-heeled several times, and still wear very often-. But, when my mom gifted that first purse and wallet to me, it represented this right of passage. I could not only hold onto the innocence of my youth, but also transition into American Womanhood and loftier professional and educational dreams (with a little flair) that extended beyond my small town AP English course and swim meets.
My Kate Spade Memory Lane
Clockwise, Left to Right:
1.) Image: © Kate Spade Thompson Street Sam Bag , similar to my first Kate Spade bag & very denim-ish
2.) Image: ©Lucia Saldarriaga Photo, blurry with a puppy, my favorite Kate Spade heels (2010)
3.) Image: ©Lucia Saldarriaga Photo, season after season, my heels give me a boost at my old roommates wedding (2015)
4.) Image: © Kate Spade Black Sam Bag, my first bag was a mix of this & the Thompson Street Sam Bag (^^^) with a little floral
I’ve included an ad from her 2002 campaign. I definitely remember tacking this ad to my childhood bedroom wall. Years later, I still identify with the image. I am just as much that independent woman, ready to conquer the world, spirited but able to maintain a small sense of playfulness (through the pain), my map in my hands. “She always has something to declare”, still resonates as true as it did back then.
I can’t end this post without addressing the big elephant in the room, self-harm and suicide. Broadly, my heart breaks for anyone who is suffering, who has suffered or has family and friends who are struggling with this. My heart absolutely breaks for Ms. Spade’s daughter, family and friends. Outwardly, Kate Spade’s life seemed “perfect”, gilded even.
While fame, success and even a constant smile can shield the outside world from deep internal pain, it cannot remedy the hurt. Depression and suicidal thoughts are nothing to be ashamed of and certainly not something to brush off lightly. From deeply deeply personal experiences, life can throw you hurdles and challenges that often seem insurmountable, but I know and believe there is hope.
I want to end by writing, if you or someone you know or love (or even someone you’re just newly acquainted with) is struggling, please know that there is help and support. Don’t give up, speak up!
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
Nacional de Prevencion del Suicido 1-888-628-9454
For Deaf & Hard of Hearing 1-800-799-4889
Europe Support: http://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/Europe
United States Support: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
May Kate Spade rest in peace. As always, be deeply kind to yourself and to each other.
*Cheers from The Atelier