Kate Spade's Celebrity Fans and Most Memorable Pop Culture Moments

The designer, who was found dead one year ago today at 55 of an apparent suicide, changed the way we all dress with her iconic handbags - see some of her most major moments

01 of 09

Kate Spade Set Trends

Designer Kate Spade In Boston
Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty

When the late designer Kate Spade launched her handbag line in 1993, she was simply trying to fill a hole in her own handbag collection, she said: “I wanted a functional bag that was sophisticated and had some style."

It turned out thousands of women agreed with her, and her now-iconic boxy nylon bags were soon spotted everywhere from the mall to the Oscars. Check out the A-listers spotted with her styles and the major milestones the designer achieved.

02 of 09

Gwyneth Paltrow Makes it a Travel Tote

Celebrity Sightings at the Los Angeles International Airport

If you could capture the '90s in one photo, it might look like this one of Gwyneth Paltrow (with then-boyfriend Ben Affleck) touching down at LAX with her striped nylon bag in tow.

Other celebrity fans of her early collections included Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore, Winona Ryder, Cindy Crawford and Sandra Bullock, who said of the bag line, "I never bought anything more than huge trash bags for all my junk. Then I walked into Kate's showroom and discovered I now have an obsession."

03 of 09

The Olsens Give It the OK

Twin actresses Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen at the f
George Dabrowski/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Even before they were handbag designers in their own right, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen gave their coveted stamp of approval to one of Spade's most beloved styles at the premiere of Anna and the King.

04 of 09

Tina Fey Sports the Shades

Solstice Sunglass Boutique at the Lucky/Cargo Club - Day 2
Djamilla Rosa Cochran/WireImage

As Kate's brand got bigger, the empire expanded to include everything from office supplies to fragrance to sunglasses - which were modeled by Tina Fey (alongside Amy Poehler) at an event in L.A.

05 of 09

They Have a Met Gala Moment...

MET Presents Anglomania: The Costume Institute Benefit Gala
Evan Agostini/Getty

One of Kate's shimmery satin evening bags was seen on the arm of Rosario Dawson at the 2006 Met Gala, shortly before the designer and her husband sold the company to Liz Claiborne, Inc.

06 of 09

...and Appear at the Oscars

Arrivals At 67th Academy Awards
Barry King/Liaison/Getty

Swedish supermodel Vendela wore one of the designer's drawstring bags - just $120! - to the Oscars in 1995, just two years after the line launched. One of the reasons Spade's styles were just an instant success was their accessible price point; as the New York Post put it in 2000, "the classic Kate tote is for you if you want dash without cash."

07 of 09

Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

The success of Kate Spade handbags has triggered a flurry of fakes over the past year. The success o
Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times via Getty

The immense popularity of the bag also meant the market was flooded with knockoffs. The brand set up a customer service line that would allow you to describe your bag to check on its authenticity. (Ah, the days before the internet.)

08 of 09

More of the Most Memorable Styles

Designer Kate Spade In Boston
Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty

People also responded to the designer's sense of whimsy, conveyed via fabrications in wicker and burlap. Her unconventionally chic style earned her two Council of Fashion Designers of America accessories awards, in 1996 and 1998.

09 of 09

A Lasting Legacy

Danny Martindale/GC Images

Though Kate sold her namesake brand in 2006, her legacy of feminine, festive fashion is still carried on at the label, and its celebrity fanbase is stronger than ever; among the current A-list lovers of the brand are Mindy Kaling, Taylor Swift and Kate Middleton (pictured in a floral Kate Spade New York dress).

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