June 5th, 2018 the world turned another dark page. My inspiration, courage, and friend died. Rest in peace Katherine Noel Brosnahan, Kate Valentine and Kate Spade. I did not have the chance to know her personally, but she brought color and class to a girl in a small town. She helped to give shape to my view of myself and to the way I wanted to live in this world. I first ‘met’ Kate when a friend was gifted a purse for Christmas. When she opened her gift it was love at first sight for me. It was beautiful, eye-catching, but not at all pretentious. It may sound silly but I had no idea that a bag evokes such a strong emotional response. I suddenly wanted everything from the way I dressed, to the way I decorated my home to embody that style. It was that moment that my obsession began.
Like most obsessions, it started out fairly shallow. I wanted all the handbags, dresses, and fine china I could get. I wanted even the smallest everyday items to have her touch of style. Kate Spade pencils anyone? Paper straws? Stationary? But beyond her products, I knew nothing. I didn't know what she looked like or where she lived or anything about her family. But one day, my husband's grandmother gave me an interview she had clipped from the New York Times. On my way back to the city, I read the clipping and found I was in awe of Kate’s eloquent words and bright look on life. I went to the local library and got a small book she had written called Occasions. I couldn’t stop reading it. I wanted to soak in every ounce of her practical advice and personal anecdotes.
This small book brought a big change in the influence that Kate Spade had in other areas of my life. Much more than simply implementing her style and buying her products she awakened in me the desire to be a domestic goddess. She brought to light that hostessing a party wasn’t about showing off and having everything perfect. It was about creating the perfect environment for both the guest and the hostess to enjoy. It was about making simple things an occasion and everyday an experience. She taught that the task of preparing a meal (or ordering takeout) is something to be enjoyed. And she firmly lived the belief that being overdressed is an honor, not a faux pas. In the book, she described her memory of a party her mother hosted. She recalled watching her mother seemingly float around the room to bring light to each corner and attention to each guest. Then all of a sudden one of the guests accidentally spilled her red wine all over her mother's white couch!! Thinking of this I can feel the embarrassment that the guest must have felt and the rage the hostess must have felt. But instead Kate recounts that her mother, being ever graceful, just said “please don’t give it a second thought” and then she threw her own wine on the couch. It not only made light of a ghastly situation but immediately eased the tension that had fallen over the party. Order and enjoyment were restored.
Kate Spade is more than just Fashion, she is more than Style. She is elegance and sass.
Kate not only grew an incredible apartment business into a multi-million dollar company, but she also sparked a movement for women that was unique and courageous, Just like her. I have spent a good portion of my life, collecting not only physical items from Kate Spade but wisdom and insight for living. She has become ingrained in my daily life, from using her products to using the name Kate as one of my aliases. She has inspired parties, photo shoots, rooms in my home and my interactions with others.
The passing of Kate Spade is tragic, devastating to this world of color. But she left us something so precious, her legacy. She really lived an incredible life, it doesn't bring me jealously but happiness for her. I want to actively pursue cherishing her way of life, passing on her astounding views of this world.
But most of all, I want to make sure it is known that my prayers and heart are with her family. Losing a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and human is a loss a heart can barely comprehend. Kate, I am sorry for your beautiful life lost, I hope you found peace and rest.
Rest in peace.