When i first heard the news today about kate spade, i was absolutely gutted. then i felt silly- why am i crying over the death of a designer? but kate was no ordinary fashion designer and, as with many women posting today, she and her designs were a touchstone throughout my life. i remember my first bag— a boxy black nylon classic, purchased at the age of 19, at the pentagon city nordstrom. i bought it with my little bitty salary from my clerkship at a newspaper’s d.c. bureau. i carried it with me on reporting assignments and i felt both chic and professional. i followed it with a messenger bag, which i carried, heavy with books, for the rest of college. when i got my first real job, i was thrown into a world of celebrity reporting. as i teetered along red carpets in my brand new black ks heels with a playful pinwheel at the toes, i felt a little less like an imposter. a pink ks agenda carried me through my first year in a phd program.
most of all, her products let me enter her world of whimsy. my friend marisa and i reminisced recently about stalking ben harper at an obama campaign event back in 2008. when we finally met him, he looked down at my metallic ks ballet flats and said, “i really dig the gold shoes.” of course ben would love my kate spades! it was a rainy day today here in nh, but just looking at my favorite ks piece, a hat that says “hello sunshine,” made things a little less gloomy. i fell in love with this hat, but it was sold out. i searched for years in vain, only for joe to surprise me with a very gently used one he found.
so, thank you, kate spade, for making luxury more accessible, for transforming the seeming frivolous into something meaningful, for creating beautiful accessories that carried me from class to work to play, and for welcoming women to your heartfelt, encouraging, loving, and fun world. my heart hurts for the pain you had to keep hidden and the darkness you tried to fight, but i am grateful for all the times you brightened my day and this world. as a ks christmas card i’ve held onto all these years says- “if i could, i’d give you... a cuckoo clock and a little more time..” r.i.p. you quick, curious, playful and strong woman.