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Kate Spade’s most iconic bag lives on through the brand she left behind

Julie Tong
Yahoo Lifestyle

Kate Spade‘s label, Frances Valentine, is honoring Spade’s legacy with a special relaunch of her most iconic bag, now referred to as the “Kate” bag. Made of nylon, the boxy, carryall tote became the it-bag among fashionistas throughout New York City in the early ’90s.

“Frances Valentine is where Kate Valentine Spade spent her time and creative energy, and we felt it was important to highlight her remarkable vision and the genius of her work,” Elyce Arons, managing partner of Frances Valentine, shares with Yahoo Lifestyle. “The Francis Valentine ‘Kate’ bag honors the first design Kate produced … Kate’s imprint on design is singular and is the driving force behind everything we create at Frances Valentine.”

The “Kate” bag was actually modeled after the shopper style bag Spade first introduced during the ’90s. Despite her early success, Spade ended up selling a majority stake of her eponymous label in 1997 to Neiman Marcus. In 2007, she officially stepped away from the label, but nine years later, Spade would establish Frances Valentine, a handbag and footwear label that embodied her quirky sense of style and charm. The name Frances stems from a longtime family name of hers and is also the name of her daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade.

Handbag designer Kate Spade at her New York showroom in 2000 (Photo: Thomas Iannaccone/Penske Media/Rex/Shutterstock)

Arons is the former head of operations at Kate Spade and is a longtime friend of Spade’s. “I was lucky enough to be a partner with Katy, Andy, and Pamela (Bell) on launching Kate Spade in 1993. I have always admired Katy’s charm and gracious nature.”

Kate Spade’s iconic bag, re-issued by Frances Valentine, is called the Kate bag. (Photo: Frances Valentine)

Today, both the Kate Spade brand and Frances Valentine exist simultaneously. “Each brand has a strong point of view driven by the remarkable and never-ending design ethos of Kate Valentine Spade,” says Arons. “Frances Valentine is where Katy created personal designs driven by what she loved most and valued each day. Both brands celebrate joy, creativity, and love of shape and color in unique and valuable ways.”

The Kate bag is a perfect carryall tote for fashionable women. (Photo: Frances Valentine)
The Kate bag is available in four colors: green, navy, black, and red. (Photo: Frances Valentine)

Arons shares that 20 percent of the proceeds from each “Kate” bag sold will go towards the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “We wanted to honor her in selecting one [charity] that would champion young people and provide access to art, education, and sports,” she says. “Boys & Girls Clubs of America has been providing these opportunities for over 100 years, and we couldn’t think of a better organization to support in Kate Valentine Spade’s honor.”

The Kate bag by Frances Valentine in red (Photo: Frances Valentine)

When Spade died, she left behind four seasons‘ worth of designs for Frances Valentine, which will be carried on after her passing. “Katy is the heart and soul of Frances Valentine,” says Arons. “We have always worked as a team, because that was important to her. So many of us have created side by side since the early days, and Frances Valentine is a treasure trove of Katy’s work, her designs, her inspirations.”

You can buy the “Kate” bag now exclusively in store at Barneys New York’s Madison Avenue flagship,  as well as online at barneys.com and francesvalentine.com. The bag retails for $195 and is available in four colors: green, red, navy, and black.

Read More from Yahoo Lifestyle:

How Kate Spade built her billion dollar empire—and left it
Kate Spade’s husband, Andy, shares touching tribute in first Instagram since her death 
Plus-size blogger Hayet Rida hates shopping: ‘I sort of have PTSD from never being able to shop’

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