Meet Reta Saffo, the older sister of late fashion designer Kate Spade –whose body was found June 5th inside the bedroom of her New York Park Avenue apartment, after she took her own life.
Reta’s famous sister became a fashion powerhouse in the early 90’s when Spade debuted in the fashion world with a line of handbags. The Kansas City native and her husband, Andy Spade opened their first store in 1993. By 1998, annual revenues had reached $27 million.
In 1999, they sold a 56% stake to Neiman Marcus for $34 million. Then, in 2006, Spade and her two partners sold the remaining 44% to Neiman for a reported $59 million.
Kate, born Katherine Noel Brosnahan, then took some time to raise her only daughter Frances Beatrix Spade, born in 2005. She made a comeback into the fashion world in 2016 with the brand Frances Valentine –in honor of her daughter. The 55-year-old committed suicide by hanging and was found at her home by her housekeeper.
Speaking of the shocking tragedy, Reta Saffo revealed to outlets her younger sister, had been suffering ‘debilitating mental illness for the last three or four years.’ Not only had that, according to Reta Saffo, Spade also been self-medicating with alcohol.
57-year-old Reta Saffo who currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico –revealed in an email to The Kansas City Star that her sister’s suicide ‘was not unexpected’ at least for her. Saffo who described her sister growing up as a ‘very excitable little girl’ believes the pressure and stress from the brand made Kate become ‘full-on manic depressive.’
Reta Saffo says she traveled several times to NY to try and get Kate the treatment she needed but nothing ever came of it. She reveals Kate was always more worried about what people would say. Saffo who believes her sister had a plan to end with her life also wrote Kate became fixated with Robbie Williams suicide in 2014. She ends the email saying how kind Kate was and how much she will miss their hours-long conversations on the phone.
Reta Brosnahan Saffo is a New Mexico resident, she is married to Karl Saffo –a medical doctor. She and her family have also lived in Sarasota, Florida as well as in, Mission Hills, Kansas.