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 6589 Womens Cobble Hill Cayli Black Crossbody Handbag Small BhfoKate Spade Black Ivory Windson Satchel Messenger Crossbody Bag PurseKate Spade Southport Avenue Oden Leather HandbagKate Spade Concord Street Gail Pumice Black Leather Satchel Purse Handbag $398Kate Spade Handbag - PinkKate Spade Handbag Black SatchelKate Spade Blue Zipper Shoulder Bag LargeKate Spade Murray Street Shoshanna Leather Tote Shoulder Bag Pebble Pale BeigeKate Spade Green Leather Large ToteKate Spade Flamingo Tote Take A Walk On The Wild Side Bon ShopperAuthentic Kate Spade Pink Leather Clement SatchelKate Spade Black Leather Zip Closure Shoulder Bag PurseKate SpadeKate Spade HandbagKate Spade Ivory Pebble Gold Tone Hardware Hobo Shoulder BagKate Spade Len Polar Bear Cold Comforts Navy Blue White Large Oversized Tote BagKate Spade Large Black Leather Tote Kate Spade Purse - Black LeatherKate Spade Southport Avenue Linda Tote! Taupe Yellow Tassel Trim Large EucKate Spade CrossbodyKate Spade HandbagKate Spade Leopard Print Patent Leather ToteKate Spade Wellesley Small Rachelle Leather Handbag : Red Plum Free ShippingKate SpadeKate Spade PurseKate Spade Ny Medium Size Cobble Hill Backpack Style Msrp $298+ Pre-owned!!!Kate Spade HandbagKate Spade Black Pebble Multiple Compartments Box Shoppers BagKate Spade Cedar Street MaiseKate Spade Cobble Hill Leslie Satchel & WalletKate Spade Vivian Mulberry Crossbody W/ Strap Purse Bag & Wallet Set Hobo 14k NrKate Spade Black Leather Satchel W/outside Pocket/ Shoulder StrapKate Spade HandbagKate Spade Barely Ever Used Polka Dot Computer Laptop Bag Case Msrp $248Kate Spade Cedar Street Large Hayden Tote Light TealKate Spade Cedar Street Maise Handbag Kate Spade Newbury Lane Small Loden Satchel Beautiful Color MintEuc Kate Spade Kennedy Park Geranium Pink Weekender Carryon Duffle Bag $398Kate Spade Cobble Hill Tenley Small Black Leather Crossbody Purse MessengKate Spade - On Purpose - Authentic Embroidered Leather Cat Tote/purse BlackUsed Bulk Rehab Resale Wholesale Purse Lot Dooney Bourke Fossil Kate Spade CszzGently Used Kate Spade Hello Shanghai Chinese Take Out Box Clutch Shoulder BagKate Spade Wellesley QuinnKate Spade Cedar Street Mini NoraKate Spade Wellesley Quinn HandbagKate Spade Stevie Quilted Baby Diaper Bag HandbagKate Spade ToteKate Spade Canvas Tote Polka Dot Black And Cream With Black Leather Base/handlesKate Spade Southport Avenue Mini Carmen Buttermilk/black Crossbody Bag AuthenticKate Spade Brighton Park Small Sloan Dark Roast Satchel , Shoulder Bag Msrp $365Used Bulk Rehab Resale Wholesale Purse Lot Fossil Kooba Kate Spade Kors CtstKate Spade Sawyer Street GreyKate Spade Leather ToteUsed Bulk Rehab Resale Wholesale Purse Lot Marc Jacobs Juicy Kate Spade CdxzKate Spade Hot Pink Leather Wellesley Quinn Shoulder Bag Handbag Kate Spade Villabella Avenue Quinn Empire Red Purse Hand Bag Leather Kate Spade Lilly Oliver StreetKate Spade Purse Shoulder Bag Black Hand BagKate Spade Cameron St. Floral Mini Candace Handbag Satchel Cross Body Black BluePink Kate Spade Hot Fuschia 679 Pre Owned With Tags Over The Shoulder Purse Bag