The husband of the late designer has relocated to the west coast

By Sharon Kanter and Jodi Guglielmi
November 16, 2018 02:58 PM
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When Frances Valentine, the accessories brand by the late designer Kate Spade, opened a pop-up shop on Madison Avenue this week, one person was notably missing in celebrating the milestone — husband and Frances Valentine co-founder Andy Spade.

As it turns out, Andy has decided to relocate to the west coast with their daughter Frances Beatrix, 13, after his wife’s tragic death by suicide in June at the age of 55.

“He has been in California taking care of his daughter,” Elyce Arons, the CEO of Frances Valentine and one of Kate’s oldest and closest friends, told PEOPLE at the opening at the pop-up shop. Arons had launched the Frances Valentine brand in 2016 with Kate and Andy, a decade after they sold Kate Spade New York.

Credit: Andrew Toth/FilmMagic

Since Kate’s death, Andy has posted multiple images on Instagram in tribute to his late wife.

On September 7, he posted an image of a garden hose and a red plant, writing, “Reminding myself to stay the course of beauty for her.”

He also posted an image of a Christmas tree four months after her death. “4 months. Aluminum foil and cardboard star. Store bought bow. Planting a Christmas tree in my yard so I never forget the beauty of her,” he wrote.

Even though Andy is across the country, Arons said he’s still very involved in the brand.

“We are trying to give him space but I speak to him every week,” Arons said. “He’s an idea-guy. He always has been and always will be. He throws ideas our way and sometimes we can execute them.”

The idea of the pop-up was particularly exciting, as it marks one of the first major milestones of the brand since Kate’s passing.

Inside the Frances Valentine pop-up shop on Madison Avenue.
| Credit: Courtesy of Frances Valentine

“She would have loved it,” Arons told PEOPLE of how Kate would have reacted to the store opening.

“I think about her in every decision we make in the company,” Arons continued. “I’m probably more critical now than I ever was, I just feel like it’s for her. After we were done setting up [the store] on the first day, we had everything in place, and I walked out the door and the first thing I wanted to do was to call Kate and I couldn’t.”

Arons said the opening is in “her honor.”

“What were we going to do, just stop? She wouldn’t have wanted that,” said Arons.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).