• She leaves behind
  • Kate Spade had not been part of her namesake handbag label for more than a decade, but she was at the helm of a new accessories business she and Andy Spade founded in 2015, called Frances Valentine.
  • Experts are now wondering what course the two brands will take in this difficult time.

By 2006, the Spades had sold their final stake in the company to Neiman Marcus.

It subsequently changed hands twice and is now owned by Tapestry, the parent company of Coach.

The couple stayed out of the fashion world for almost a decade. Andy returned to advertising, and Kate dedicated her time to bringing up their now-13-year-old daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade.

But in 2015, the couple reentered fashion with the launch of a new handbag-and-shoe brand called Frances Valentine, which was named after two of her relatives. As a mark of the new era she was entering, Kate Spade changed her name to Kate Valentine.

This puts Kate Spade, the brand, in a complicated position.

After she died, the company immediately paid tribute to her on a social media, sharing the following statement: "

"Although Kate has not been affiliated with the brand for more than a decade, she and her husband and creative partner, Andy, were the founders of our beloved brand," the company said.

Kate Spade's death has been compared to that of fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who ran his namesake brand until he died by suicide in 2010. McQueen was quickly replaced by Sarah Burton, who had worked with him for 14 years prior, starting as his personal assistant and working her way up to become head of womenswear.

"The brand has gone from strength to strength," Bowring said of Alexander McQueen, adding that Burton hasn't strayed away from the concept, belief, or humility of her predecessor.

"Even when really tragic things happen, brands can still become something else. The most successful brands have diverged from what they used to be," Allday told Business Insider.

"It is a brand. It is established, it has many followers, admirers, loyal customers, an identity that not only is enduring, but is also nostalgic. Nostalgia plays a very large role in much of how we approach our lives today," Bowring wrote in an email to Business Insider.

It is a tragic irony that the brand that Kate Spade was actually a part of at the time of her death may not have the lasting power to honor her legacy. Some may never know this as they pay tribute to the Kate Spade brand.

Remembering Kate Spade:

  • The Kate Spade brand became a household name because it did something other brands didn't
  • 'You don't know me but I know you': After Kate Spade's death, people are sharing how the designer touched their lives through fashion
  • Kate Spade shared how she wanted to be remembered in a 2002 interview
  • Kate Spade was totally detached from her namesake brand
  • Kate Spade leaves behind her husband and business partner. Here's what we know about their relationship.
  • Kate Spade's fans are reacting to her apparent suicide with reminders about mental health
  • Celebrities and fashion industry figures are reacting to Kate Spade's apparent suicide