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    

Authentic Kate Spade Small Wellesley Rachelle Purse Crossbody HandbagUsed Green Kate Spade Green Bag With Matching Wallet.Kate Spade Maise Bow Handbag/purse UniqueGently Used Kate Spade Snapdragon Pink Sawyer Street Handbag With WalletKate Spade Black Medium Wkru2735 Laurel Magnolia Park Suede & Leather BagKate Spade Alessa Southport Avenue Black Leather Satchel Crossbody PurseKate Spade Daycation Serena Sandpiper Baby Bird Diaper Bag Wkru1561 Kate Spade Eat Cake For Breakfast ToteKate Spade Southport Avenue Linda Tote Black LeatherKate Spade Cognac Leather Multi Pocket Shoulder BagKate Spade Cobble Hill Purse Cinnabar Red Crossbody ShoulderKate Spade Gramercy Park Calista ~ Laptop Case Computer Bag ~ BlackKate Spade Purple Leather Shoulder Cross Body Strap Medium Bag Purse $198Authentic Kate Spade Bag And Wallet Kate Spade Houston St Loula Leather Hot Rose Pink Small Shoulder Bag CrossbodyBeautiful 17", Large And Leather Kate Spade Purple Tote/satchelKate Spade $298 Cedar Street Small Harmony Patent Leather Bag Tote Orbit BlueKate Spade Cedar Street Maize SatchelSold Out Kate Spade Saturday Abstract Small Weekender Bag Kate Spade Black Nylon Diaper Or Baby Bag VgucKate Spade Marlene Astor Court Black Shoulder Bag #wkru1565Kate Spade Handbag LeatherKate Spade Spot Nylon Calista ~ Laptop Case Computer Bag ~ Black White Polka Dot Kate Spade Charlotte Street Small Sloan (dune) Bonus: Includes WalletKate Spade Brightspot Avenue Little Kennedy HandbagKate Spade Vivi Via Limoni Bella Magazine ClutchKate Spade Black Leather Hobo Purse Handbag Euc!Authentic Kate Spade Patent Leather Navy & Cream With Gold Chain Tote Handbag Kate Spade 2 Park Avenue Large Bright Red Beau Bag/beau Shopper $458+ *beauty*Kate Spade BagKate Spade Ryan Hawthorne Lane Stripe Tote Navy HandbagKate Spade Small Gabriel Grand Street - Green Leather Shoulder Bag/tote Kate Spade Doris Harwood Place Wkru2643 Black Leather Handbag SatchelKate Spade Lilac Road Seth Light Crocus Purple Scalloped Crossbody*used* Bulk Rehab Resale Wholesale Purse Lot Coach Kate Spade Juicy Fossil B!:Kate Spade Gini Evening Belles Leather Bow Clutch Bag Pale Pink Wedding BridalKate Spade Cobble Hill Small Leslie Leather Satchel Crossbody Black AuthenticKate Spade Saturday Small Weekender In Freestyle Pattern Travel Overnight BagKate Spade Cobble Hill HandbagKate Spade Red BagKate Spade Small Pearl HandbagKate Spade Ny Cobble Hill "curtis" Shoulder / Crossbody Black Leather HandbagAuthentic Kate Spade Southport Avenue Mini MariaKate Spade Crossbody HandbagKate Spade Summer Straw Leather Turnlock Clutch Tan Brown Blue Gold Kate Spade Leather Laurel Wesley Large Satchel Crossbody Pink Beige EnvelopeKate Spade Stevie Baby Diaper Bag Stucco Beige * Barely Used * Retail $398Kate Spade ToteKate Spade Wellesley Large Black Tote Bag Kate Spade Small Leather SatchelKate Spade HandbagKate Spade Southport Avenue Cora Crossbody Leather Black BagKate Spade Handbag Lot 100% AuthenticKate Spade Grant Street Grainy Vinyl Mini Cassie Kate Spade Laptop BagKate Spade Cobble Hill Leslie Leather Satchel-greyRed Kate Spade Sawyer Street Alair BagKate Spade Ny-elena Villabella Avenue (299)Kate Spade Small Loden Pillboxred Newbury Lane Purse And Matching WalletKate Spade Powder Blue Pebbled Leather Handbag Shoulder Bag Purse