Fashion designer Kate Spade, born Katherine Noel Frances Brosnahan, was born on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1962. 

Kate Spade, a beloved fashion designer whose aesthetic delighted women with her classic yet bold approach to handbags and shoes, died tragically in 2018, aged 55. 

We celebrate Spade's success before her untimely death by looking back at her Irish roots. 

Kate Spade - her real name and Irish roots 

While many knew of Kate Spade by her brand name (also her married name - she founded the company in 1993 with her husband-to-be Andy Spade), few know of her beginnings - far from the fashion houses of New York - and her Irish roots. 

She was born Katherine Noel Frances Valentine Brosnahan in Kansas City, Missouri, on December 24, 1962, to Earl Francis Brosnahan, Jr. and June Mullen. Three of her great-grandparents were Irish emigrants. 

Where does the name Brosnahan come from? 

Brosnahan comes from the Irish Gaelic "ó Brosnacháin," which may be derived from the place name Brosna in Kerry - also linked to Pierce Brosnan. '

A classic Irish beauty with her dark hair and freckles, Spade studied journalism in school, graduating in 1985 and then heading to New York to work for Madamoseielle magazine. 

Kate Spade - her career 

She left the magazine in 1991 to work on her vision for an accessories line and launched Kate Spade - a combination of her first name and the last name of her husband-to-be Andy Spade - in 1993. 

It was wildly successful, her handbags becoming an iconic American accessory, rivaling Chanel in their appeal while also offering a practical design. In 1999, Kate and Andy sold the brand to the Neiman Marcus Group, though they stayed involved until 2007, then turning their focus to other fashion and philanthropic projects. Kate Spade was bought by Coach in 2017. 

Kate Spade - her family

Spade left behind her husband, Andy, and their 13-year-old daughter. The actress Rachel Brosnahan is her niece, and the comedian David Spade is her brother-in-law. 

Kate Spade was wealthy, talented, a mother, the sister-in-law of David Spade and the aunt of Rachel Brosnahan. None of that mattered. Depression and mental illness can affect anyone. If you need help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

— Michael LaFrance (@mlafrance) June 5, 2018


In America, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

If you need help, you can also text LISTEN to 741741. The Crisis Text Line will respond 24/7/365.

In Ireland, Samaritans is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone struggling to cope. For support please call 116 123 in the Republic of Ireland or 08457 90 90 90 in Northern Ireland.