A journalism-school graduate born in Kansas City, Missouri, Katherine Brosnahan started her career in the accessories department at New York City-based “Mademoiselle” magazine in 1986. As she worked her way up to Fashion Editor/Head of Accessories, she noticed a gap in the handbag market. She wasn’t seeing enough practical, classically styled purses in surprising or fun colors and materials.

Brosnahan left journalism, and with her fiancé, Andy Spade, a superstar in the marketing world, she launched her own handbag brand, Kate Spade, in 1993, with a nylon tote bag. Andy and Kate married a year later, and the couple ran the company together for 17 years before they sold it.

Describing her line as “L.L. Bean meets Prada,” Kate Spade found great success with her minimalist, preppy bags in basic fabrics like nylon, silk, or tweed in neutrals and vibrant colors like grass green and bright orange. In 1996, Kate Spade was honored with the Perry Ellis Award for New Fashion Talent in accessories, which made her a household name.

Unlike haute-couture designer It Bags, which sell for thousands, Kate Spade purses sell for hundreds. Instead of overwhelming the wearer with the “statement” or personality of the bag, a Kate Spade is meant to go with the carrier’s personality, whether she’s a “renegade debutante, carpooling mother, or corporate executive."

Spade found much of her inspiration from vintage handbags. To keep her prices down, Spade focused on functionality and alternative materials to leather, including melton wool, Liberty prints, Harris tweed, oilskin, linen, and nylon. As her products spread to stores across the nation, she expanded her line to include snap-top satin evening bags with chain handles, linen and nylon shoulder bags, faux-suede shoppers, backpacks, and canvas tote bags.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Bag Lady University

Bag Lady University

Bag Lady University is the place to learn about handbag makers from Adrian's, which made Bakelite bags, to Whiting … [read review or visit site]

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Kate Spade Alessa Wellesley Satchel With Matching Wallet Combo Msrp 590.00Large Kate Spade Red Leather Tote Shoulder Bag HandbagKate Spade Gold Coast Maryanne Large Quilted Black Leather Handbag/ Tote Kate Spade Ny Black Leather- Charlotte Street Sloan Satchel - Was $395 Kate Spade Wellesley Berkeley Lane Alessa Leather Purse Bag Porcelain MessengerKate Spade, Green Bag, Basic Design In Good ConditionKate Spade Samira Radio Clutch Perfect Kate Spade Cobble Hill Little Curtis Medium Gray Handbag Leather Kate Spade Flame Linda Southport Avenue Handbag, Never UsedAuth Kate Spade Gray Full Leather Rolled Handles Large Tote Bag Kate Spade Gigi Chelsea Park Patent Stripe Crossbody Bag Top Handle Satchel $275Auth Kate Spade Brown Vachetta Leather Tote HandbagKate Spade Gold Coast Ginnie Quilted Crossbody Bag - Black LeatherKate Spade Leather Quilted Shoulder Bag~ Classy!!!Kate Spade Green And Navy Leather Satchel Handbag W/ Crossbody StrapAuthentic Purple Kate Spade HandbagKate Spade Stevie Southport Avenue Fabric Black Wkru2025 Authentic Kate SpadeKate Spade Small Mercer Sloan Hand BagKate Spade - Nude Beige White - Scallop Trapeze Shape - Handbag Purse Medium Sz$400 Kate Spade Cobble Hill Little Murphy Pxru4492 Handbag Rare Color 100% Auth Kate Spade Cobble Hill Little Minka Atlantic Blue Leather Bag Purse - EucKate Spade HandbagKate Spade Rachelle Berkley Lane Black & White Leather BagAuthentic Kate Spade Kent Alessandra PurseKate Spade Wellesley Maeda Small Red....euc!!Kate Spade Black Perforated Flower Cedar Street Maise Purse SatchelKate Spade Far From The Tree Apple Pink *used* Bulk Rehab Resale Wholesale Purse Lot Kate Spade Coach Juicy Couture #ftKate Spade Signature Abstract Bow Harmony Tote Multi (974) Pxru4060 Great CondtnKate Spade Cobble Hill Little Curtis Shamrock Green Hobo Handbag Leather Kate Spade Carmen Nylon Convertable HandbagKate Spade Wellesley Maeda Large Tote BagKate Spade Mount Ivy Helena Bow Leather Tote - Taupe Black $448100% Authentic Kate Spade Cobble Hill Little Minka Dusty Emerald, Mint!!!!!!Kate Spade Gold Coast Python Large HandbagKate Spade Signature Stevie Satchel Bag Tote Purse Black And White/ivoryKate Spade Handbag Stevie Handbag Polka DotKate Spade Leather Nadine Gray SatchelKate Spade Cornelia Street Noel Stevie Handbag With DustbagKate Spade Sophie Flicker Patent Leather Tote Bag PlumKate Spade Wellesley Alessa Patent Stripe Satchel Bag Wkru2503 Msrp $378 Blk CrmKate Spade ( Maira Kalman) Dog Walk Delightful Bag!!Kate Spade Noel Bag- Pre-owned Excellent ConditionKate Spade Barclay Street Bradley Bag Case Purse Black Patent Leather LaptopKate Spade Cedar Street Elissa Leather Tote Msrp $368Kate Spade Southern Avenue Linda Handbag And And Matching Neda WalletKate Spade Wellesley RachelleExcellent Condition Kate Spade Laptop Bag - Black - Retails For $248Kate Spade Cobble Hill Zebra Small Leslie SatchelRed.white,black Plaid Kate Spade Purse~gorgeousKate Spade Rachelle Shoulder BagKate Spade Newbury Lane Cadene Tote Bag Msrp $398 GreenAuthentic Kate Spade Classic Spade Stevie Shoulder Bag EucKate Spade Oaxaca Bird Eley Drawstring Clutch PurseKate Spade Southport Avenue Jenny Orange And Pink Satchel Handbag PurseKate Spade Essex Scout BagKate Spade Gold Coast Maryanne Bag$450 Kate Spade Gold Coast Georgina Cashew Quilted Leather Purse Shoulder BagKate Spade Patent Leathta-da Oversized Striped Purse!! Super Fab!! Msrp $178.00Coach Leather Purse - Beautiful Buttery Leather Louis Vouitton Kate Spade Prada