Actress Rachel Brosnahan, the niece of designer Kate Spade, will be the face of her late aunt’s fashion label, Frances Valentine, this spring.
Brosnahan, the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning star of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” was among mourners who packed a Kansas City church in June 2018 after Spade took her life in her Manhattan apartment.
“Having Rachel as the face of the spring campaign would have made Katy smile,” Spade’s college friend and Frances Valentine CEO, Elyce Arons, told Glamour.
A decade after Spade left the namesake company that established her as a handbag icon, Spade founded Frances Valentine with her husband, Andy Spade, and Arons, according to People. The company bears the name of the couple’s daughter, Frances Beatrix.
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“When you lose someone you love very, very much, you spend a lot of time trying to think about how to keep their spirit alive, how they can live on for you, and that’s through memories but also, in Katy’s case, there is so much of her left behind,” Brosnahan said in a Wednesday appearance on “Today.”
“Not only to us, but to so many other people and the impact that’s she’s had on the fashion industry. It was a really special experience.”
Brosnahan models what Glamour described as the line’s “modern vintage” handbags and jewelry with “outfits that are emblematic of her aunt’s well-known penchant for color.
“Pieces from the collection include leather bags in mustard yellow and red woven basket bags, oversize pendant earrings, and bow-adorned kitten heels.”
People declared that with an “undone bun, stacks of beautiful baubles, colorful bags in her hand and in a vintage-inspired ensemble, Brosnahan is a mirror-image of her aunt.”
In the look book of photos of the collection, Brosnahan professed affection for her aunt’s trademark “love of colors and accessories.”
“She brightened up every room she walked into. She also loved classic shapes, but by mixing colors and patterns and adding funky accessories, her personality always shone through,” Brosnahan said.
In December, on the occasion of Spade’s birthday, Brosnahan posted on Instagram a black-and-white photo of her famous aunt with a big birthday cake. “Happy Birthday Katy B. We miss you like heck,” Brosnahan wrote.
She told “Today” about the many people who have reached out to Spade’s family since her death, which prompted media stories and public discussion about mental health.
“We were so touched in hearing, in the wake of this unthinkable tragedy that we all experienced together, how many other people have been touched either by her personally or by her work, by her designs,” Brosnahan said on “Today.”
“It was something that really meant a lot to us and still does.”
Last fall, Frances Valentine memorialized its founder with the release of the “Kate” bag, described by Glamour as a “boxy tote reminiscent of the Sam bag from Kate Spade New York.”
Arons told Glamour that asking Brosnahan to star in the line’s spring campaign “was very natural.”
“She is part of Katy’s family and part of the Frances Valentine family,” Arons said.