Hundreds attend funeral for fashion designer Kate Spade

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Hundreds of mourners have attended the funeral for fashion designer Kate Spade, many of them carrying her iconic purses as they flocked to a church in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.

Her family released a statement shortly before the funeral began, saying her father had died the night before at his home.

The statement said 89-year-old Earl Brosnahan Jr had been in failing health and was “heartbroken” after his beloved daughter’s suicide at her home in New York.

A high school classmate attending the service said Spade was “incredibly kind” and had a memorable laugh.

Spade admirers, including Olivia Lott, also were part of the crowds of people hovering under large, black umbrellas outside the church, many of them wearing Spade-designed accessories.

Kate Spade Funeral
Actor-comedian David Spade helps family members enter the church (Orlin Wagner/AP)

The 55-year-old mother was found dead in her New York City home on June 5.

Her husband and business partner, Andy Spade, said she suffered from depression and anxiety for years but had been regularly seeing a doctor and taking medication.

He attended the service, along with his brother, actor-comedian David Spade, who helped other relatives enter the church.

A funeral official followed the family carrying a large white urn as the congregation sang “The First Noel”, a nod to Kate Spade’s birthday, on Christmas Eve, and her middle name, Noel.

Kate Spade Funeral
The late designer Kate Spade (Bebeto Matthews/AP)

She went on to win multiple awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and was named a “giant of design” by House Beautiful magazine.

She walked away from her company in 2007, a year after it was acquired from the Neiman Marcus Group for 125 million dollars by the company then known as Liz Claiborne Inc.

Coach, now known as Tapestry, bought the Kate Spade brand last year for 2.4 billion dollars.

Kate and Andy Spade recently had started a new handbag company, Frances Valentine.

Andy Spade said he and his wife had been living separately in the 10 months before her death but saw each other or spoke every day.

He said they were not legally separated and never discussed divorce.

On Wednesday, Kate Spade New York announced plans to donate one million dollars to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness causes in tribute to the company’s late founder.

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