Why Kate Spade Legally Changed Her Name in 2016

Kate Spade will forever be associated with her multimillion dollar namesake label she and husband Andy created in 1993, Kate Spade New York. But in 2016, she changed her named to Kate Valentine Spade.

Despite selling the company in 2006, Spade didn't mind still sharing her name with the brand that launched her career, but things changed 10 years later when the 55-year-old decided to distance herself from Kate Spade New York before launching her second fashion brand, Frances Valentine.

"I really did want to make sure that we distinguished that we didn't in any way disturb our namesake, something that we worked very hard establishing and something that they're working very hard at maintaining," Spade told PEOPLE at the time. "So we wanted to make sure that there was a distinction between the two brands."

But she added she never had a problem sharing her name with the brand she left, calling it "bizarrely not odd."

"I don't mind being associated with the fact that we started it, that we were the founders," she said. "I see bags. I see stores. I hear people refer to it. It's very funny... I was really good at distancing myself from me the person and the company. So I kind of was already prepared for that. So having left, it was the same feeling. It wasn't odd."

Upon the launch of Frances Valentine, however, Spade wanted to align herself with the new venture, leading to the decision to change her legal name to reflect the brand.

"I might probably have to get out there with some posters and little boards and say: 'I'm now Frances Valentine.'"

The brand's name came from combining both of her family's names; Frances, from her father's side of the family and Valentine from her mother's.

"I've always felt guilty that I'd never done Valentine in my daughter's name originally when she was born," she said. "So I had already added that to her name for my mother's side of the cause Frances is from my dad's, and so I did that and we named the company Frances Valentine."

Spade was found dead in her New York City apartment Tuesday morning from an apparent suicide. She leaves behind her husband of 24 years and business partner Andy Spade — whom they were allegedly separated at the time of her death — and 13-year-old daughter Frances Beatrix Spade.


If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).