Kate Spade's close friend and business partner says the late designer left 4 seasons of completed work for her handbag company

 

It's been a little over a week since news broke of Kate Spade's death by suicide. The 55-year-old designer was found dead in her apartment in New York City on June 5. 

Since then, fans have been paying tribute to her work by posting messages on social media and sharing memories of the first time they bought a Kate Spade handbag — a brand that she hadn't been associated with for over a decade. Kate and Andy Spade sold their final stake in the Kate Spade brand to Neiman Marcus in 2006, and it subsequently changed hands twice. It's currently owned by Tapestry, the parent company of Coach. 

Other fans are now wondering what will happen to her newer brand, Frances Valentine, which she founded in 2015 with her husband, Andy, and business partners Elyce Arons and Paola Venturi.

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Kate Spade through the years
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Kate Spade through the years
Kate Spade during The 2001 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards - Arrivals at The Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
Kate Spade during The Fresh Air Fund Salutes American Heroes at Tavern on the Green in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
Designer Kate Spade arriving at the 2002 Ace Awards presented by The Accessories Council at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. November 5, 2002. Photo by Evan Agostini/ImageDirect.
Kate Spade during The Concert for New York City - After Party at Hudson Hotel in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Kate Spade during 13th Annual Glamour Magazine's Women of the Year Awards - Arrivals at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)
Kate Spade with husband and brother-in-law David Spade at the 20th Annual American Fashion Awards at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center in New York City. 06/14/2001. Photo: Evan Agostini/ImageDirect
Kate Spade during 17th Annual CFDA Awards at JP Morgan Atrium in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Designer Kate Spade is photographed at her offices. (Photo by David Howells/Corbis via Getty Images)
Kate Spade and Andy Spade during Costume Institute Benefit Dance: 'Party of the Year' - Arrivals at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)
Kate Spade during 14th Annual GLAMOUR Women of the Year Awards - Red Carpet at American Museum of Natural History in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)
Kate Spade (Photo by Carley Margolis/FilmMagic)
Kate Spade during CFDA 7th on Sale Kick-Off - Red Carpet and Inside at Sky Light Studios in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage for LaForce and Stevens)
NEW YORK - JUNE 7: Designer Kate Spade attends the '2004 CFDA Fashion Awards' at the New York Public Library June 7, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
Kate Spade, Andy Spade and Ruth Lande Shuman, founder/president of Publicolor (Photo by Carley Margolis/FilmMagic)
David Spade and Kate Spade during Photographer's Gallery Presents Slim Aarons Curated by Kate Spade at Fred Segal Cafe in West Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Chris Weeks/WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - APRIL 30: Kate Spade and Andy Spade attend PARSONS The NEW SCHOOL FOR DESIGN 59TH ANNUAL BENEFIT and FASHION SHOW Honoring SUSAN D. KRONICK, Vice Chairman, Federated Department Stores, Inc. at Grand Hyatt on April 30, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by JIMI CELESTE/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Kate Spade attends the 2015 Basser Center For BRCA Benefit at Cipriani Wall Street on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: Kate Spade speaks on stage at Build Series Presents Kate Spade and Andy Spade Discussing Their Latest Project Frances Valentine at Build Studio on April 28, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/WireImage)
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The brand has stayed relatively quiet in the past week, posting a tribute on social media and its website with a picture of the company's late creative director.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and founder, Kate Valentine Spade, who will remain in our hearts forever," the message said. 

Both the founder-information and press-inquiry areas of Frances Valentine's website appear to have been taken down.

The company has also been inundated with messages on social media, and a day after Spade's death, all 25 handbags listed on Frances Valentine's website appeared to be sold out

Arons, a close friend of Spade's who worked as head of operations at Spade's namesake handbag brand and then became a managing partner at Frances Valentine, told Business Insider that the company is determined to honor Spade's legacy.

"We don't know what the future holds for us, but we are determined to continue to make her beautiful work live on through Frances Valentine. We will be stronger for her, more connected to each other through her," Arons wrote in an email to Business Insider.

Kate Spade Frances Valentine

According to Arons, Spade left four seasons of completed and designed work behind, along with an "abundant library of her concepts."

The original design team from the early days at the Kate Spade brand is also now working for Frances Valentine, Arons said, along with Kate's husband, Andy, who starting working with his wife at Kate Spade full-time in 1996. 

For now, the close-knit Frances Valentine is focused on processing the grief of what has happened and contacting the many customers who have been in touch to offer their sympathy.

"We have been inundated with calls and emails about product, but also about people's emotional connection to Kate. She was authentic and I think people sensed that and really felt close to her," Arons said. 

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Celebrities who died in 2018
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Celebrities who died in 2018

Aretha Franklin died at the age of 76 on August 16 following a long battle with cancer. Read more here.

(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

Renowned celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain died of an apparent suicide on June 8. Read more here.

(Photo: Reuters)

"Superman" actress Margot Kidder died at the age of 69 in May. Read more here.

(Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)

Nancy Sinatra died at the age of 101 in mid-July. Read more here.

(Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Designer Kate Spade died on June 5, 2018 by suicide. Read more here.

(Photo: Getty)

DJ Avicii died at 28 on April 20. Read more here.

(Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for MasterCard)

Joe Jackson died at the age of 89 at the end of June. Read more here.

(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for BET)

"Austin Powers" actor Verne Troyer died at 49 on April 21. Read more here.

(Photo by Barry King/Getty Images)

"Damn Yankees" star and gay icon Tab Hunter died at the age of 86 from cardiac arrest on July 7. Read more here.

(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

The Cranberries lead singer Dolores O'Riordan died at 46 on January 15. Read more here

(Photo by Frank Hoensch/Redferns)

"The Facts of Life" star Charlotte Rae died at the age of 92 in early August. Read more here.

(Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

"Frasier" star John Mahoney died at 77 on February 4. Read more here.

(Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)

Former "Glee" actor Mark Salling died at 35 on January 30. Read more here.

(Photo by ANDREAS BRANCH/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Rapper XXXTentacion was shot dead at the age of 20 on June 19. Read more here.

(Photo by Miami Dade County Corrections via Getty Images)

Former child star Jon Paul Steuer (right) died on January 1 at the age of 33. Read more here.

(Photo by Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty Images)

"Ladies of London" star and model Annabelle Neilson was found dead at the age of 49 in mid-July. Read more here.

(Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Claridge's)

Comedian Marty Allen died at 95 on February 12. Read more here.

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Actor Jerry Van Dyke died on January 5 at age 86. Read more here.

(Photo by Mitch Haddad/ABC via Getty Images)

Richard "Old Man" Harrison from "Pawn Stars died on June 25 at the age of 77. Read more here.

(Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)

Moody Blues co-founder Ray Thomas died on January 7 at 76. Read more here.

(Photo by Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Motorhead guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke died at 67 on January 10. Read more here.

(Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)

Original Mouseketeer Doreen Tracey died at 74 on January 10. Read more here.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Bobby Zarin (left), husband of former "Real Housewives of New York" star Jill Zarin, died at 71 on January 13. Read more here.

(Photo by Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Country singer Lari White died at 52 on January 23. Read more here.

(Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)

"Storm Chasers" star Joel Taylor died at the age of 38. Read more here.

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Former NBA star Rasual Butler and former "American Idol" contestant Leah LaBelle died in a car crash on January 30. Read more here.

(Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)

The Temptations vocalist, Dennis Edwards (center), died at 74 on February 2. Read more here.

(Photo by Paul Redmond/WireImage)

"Home Improvement" actor Mickey Jones died at 76 on February 7. Read more here.

(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Actor Reg E. Cathey died at 59 in February. Read more here.

(Photo by Bruce Glikas/Getty Images)

Former E! reality star Lyric McHenry was found at the age of 26 on August 14. Read more here.

Country singer Daryle Singletary died at 46 in early February. Read more here.

(Photo by Mindy Small/FilmMagic)

TV star Nanette Fabray died at 97 on February 22. Read more here.

(Photo by John Shearer/WireImage)

Bollywood actress Sridevi Kapoor died in late February at 54. Read more here.

(Photo by Amlan Dutta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

"MASH" star David Ogden Stiers died on March 3 at 75. Read more here.

(Photo by Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic)

Rapper Craig Mack died at 46 on March 12. Read more here.

(Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Former child star Donna Butterworth died at 62 in March. Read more here.

(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Frank Avruch (aka Bozo The Clown) died at 89 in March. Read more here.

(Photo by John Bohn/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

"Chicago Fire" actress Dushon Brown died at 49 on March 23. Read more here.

(Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images)

K-Pop singer Seo Min-woo died on March 25 at 33. Read more here.

Actress Susan Anspach died in April at 75. Read more here.

(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

Kids' TV host Chuck McCann died at 83 on April 8. Read more here.

(Photo by gotpap/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

"One Flew Over The Kuckoo's Nest" director Milos Forman died at 86 on April 13. Read more here.

(Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

"Full Metal Jacket" actor R. Lee Ermey died at 74 on April 15. Read more here.

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

"Night Court" actor Harry Anderson died at 65 on April 16. Read more here.

(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

Country musician and song-writer Randy Scruggs died at 64 on April 17. Read more here.

(Photo by Ed Rode/FilmMagic)

"Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" actress Pamela Gidley died at 52 in April. Read more here.

(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

Dennis Shields, "Real Housewives of New York" star Bethenny Frankel's on-and-off boyfriend, died of an overdose on August 10. Read more here.

(Photo by Alessio Botticelli/GC Images)

"The Goldbergs" actor Jackson Odell died on June 8 at the age of 20. Read more here.

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

"Sons of Anarchy" actor Alan O'Neill died at the age of 47 in early June. Read more here.

(Photo by Amy Graves/Wireimage)

Former "America's Got Talent" winner Neal Boyd died at the age of 42 in June. Read more here.

(Photo by Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Jerry Marren, the last living actor who played a munchkin in "The Wizard of Oz," died in June at the age of 98. Read more here.

(Photo by John M. Heller/FilmMagic)

Actor Robert Mandan died at the age of 86 in early June. Read more here.

(Photo by Malcolm Ali/WireImage)

Hugh Dane, who played Hank the security guard on "The Office," died in June at the age of 75. Read more here.

(Photo by Mitch Haddad/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Jerry Maren, the last-living "Wizard of Oz" munchkin, died at the age of 98 in early June. Read more here.

(Photo by John M. Heller/FilmMagic)

Founding member of The Bay City Rollers, Alan Longmuir, died at the age of 70 at the beginning of July after a brief illness. Read more here.

(Photo by Waring Abbott/Getty Images)

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