Designer Kate Spade at an event with handbags of her own design on October 9, 1998 in New York.Kate Spade, New York

Kate Spade’s unexpected death Tuesday prompted an outpouring of grief on the Internet from admirers and fashion industry professionals.

Spade’s first accessories label, Kate Spade New York, issued a statement on Instagram that read: “Kate Spade, the visionary founder of our brand, has passed. Our thoughts are with her family at this incredibly heartbreaking time. We honor all the beauty she brought into the world.”

The message, scrawled in white on a black background, was reposted by Spade followers. It received nearly 203,000 likes and 13,000 comments. Another popular commemorative graphic depicted the brand’s spade icon turned upside-down, with a tear dripping from its tip.

Fashion luminaries took to Instagram to express their shock and condolences. Saks Fifth Avenue posted an archival image of Spade, noting: “We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Kate Spade. She was a beloved talent that made an enduring mark on American fashion. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family — Kate will be missed by many.”

Other posts were issued by the CFDA, The Zoe Report, The Carlyle Hotel (located close to Spade’s home), and former Glamour magazine editor Cindi Leive.

Presidential associate Ivanka Trump also commemorated Spade’s legacy, posting on Instagram as a notice to those who may be in suicidal distress: “Kate Spade’s tragic passing is a painful reminder that we never truly know another’s pain or the burden they carry. If you are struggling with depression and contemplating suicide, please please seek help.”

Susan Kaufman, former editor of People Style Watch, posted this on Facebook with a photo: Katy and I met way back in the Mademoiselle Magazine days. She was a fresh faced fashion asst., Katy Brosnahan from Kansas City, Mo., and I was an associate editor just starting to take pictures. We spent one Saturday shooting together — I always thought she had a very Katharine Hepburn look about her. (This photo is from that day.) She was charming, fun-loving, sweet, hard working and so young, but with an old soul. I can still hear her saying “that’s darling,” about some accessory or look that she loved. I went on to Glamour Mag., and she took my spot at Mlle. covering accessories. I watched as her career soared to heights she probably couldn’t have imagined. And now the unimaginable has happened. Thinking of her family and friends who must be devastated. R.I.P. Katy.


Twitter was also a space for celebrities to air their condolences. Mindy Kaling, Chelsea Clinton, Reese Witherspoon, Lena Dunham and Kat Dennings dispatched tweets about Spade’s untimely death.

While Spade has not been associated with her namesake brand in more than 10 years, her past clients posted vivid commemorations — with many of them crediting Spade for making them feel beautiful.