Kate Spade
Kate Spade/southernliving.com

American fashion designer Kate Spade has been found dead in her New York apartment.

Police are investigating her death as an apparent suicide.

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She was found dead in her Park Avenue apartment in Manhattan at 10:20 local time (14:20 GMT) by her housekeeper, a law enforcement official said.

Spade – who once edited fashion magazine Mademoiselle – was well known as a designer of clothes, shoes, and jewellery, but was best known for her accessory line.

She co-founded Kate Spade Handbags in 1993 with husband Andy Spade. The company – whose stated aim was to design the perfect handbag – opened its first store in New York in 1996, and now has more than 300 branches worldwide.

It is recognisable for its distinctive logo which features the spades playing card symbol, in reference to the designer’s surname.