Who Owns Kate Spade Now? Designer Sold Brand in 2006, Started Frances Valentine Years Later

Designer, founder and former owner of the beloved eponymous brand, Kate Spade was found dead in her New York City apartment Tuesday, WCBS-TV reported.

Spade launched the luxury designer brand in 1993 with Andy Spade, whom she married a year later. The pair met more than 10 years before, as students. The brand expanded from handbags to also include clothing, accessories, home goods and even tech accessories like phone cases.

The couple sold the majority stake in the brand to the Neiman Marcus Group in 1999 for $34 million and the remaining stakes in the company to Neiman in 2006 for $59 million, Forbes reported. Once Neiman had all of the stakes, it sold the company to Liz Claiborne, which eventually became the company Fifth & Pacific. That company then rebranded as Kate Spade & Company in 2014. The handbag brand Coach, now known by its corporate name Tapestry, bought Kate Spade in 2017.

Kate Spade and her husband recently started a new brand called Frances Valentine, named for their daughter. They launched the brand with Elyce Arong and Paola Venturi.

Spade's husband is a businessman and entrepreneur and brother of actor David Spade. He's a founding member of the company Partners & Spade. Andy Spade also has his own brand called Jack Spade.

Kate Spade, a former accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine, started her namesake brand because she wanted to design the perfect handbag, according to the Kate Spade site. Originally the company had just six silhouettes for the bags and opened its first store in 1996.

"We've never lost sight of who we are: our spirited approach, commitment to curiosity and passion for sharing our colorful world still shapes all that is Kate Spade New York," says the company site.

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A woman walks out of a Kate Spade store in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan on May 8, 2017, in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images