Three months after Kate Spade’s tragic death by suicide, her best friend and former business partner, Elyce Arons, is opening up about her memories with the late designer — and the questions that still linger.
In an interview with Good Morning America on Thursday, Arons shared details of their relationship and how Spade communicated her struggles — which was tragically not often, according to the Frances Valentine co-founder.
Arons began the conversation by revealing that she knew the handbag mogul as “Katy with a Y.” She explained, “I have a really hard time calling her Kate because that came about through the business, but I had known her for so much longer than that.”
And even though the two friends met in college at the University of Kansas and became inseparable almost immediately, Arons shared that Spade still didn’t open up to her about her personal struggles.
“It was tough because she didn’t always say it,” Aarons reflected. “She’d be sad and then one minute later she’d make a joke. We talked every day, and most of the time she was very happy, but I don’t know if anyone can understand the depths of depression of another person.”
When asked the one thing she’d like to know most about her business partner’s death, Arons responded, “It’s why. I’ve thought and thought and thought about it, but I think it was probably one moment of despair, of deep sadness, she felt while she was alone. I can’t answer what that was.”
Arons also discussed the future of Frances Valentine, which she co-founded with Spade and Spade’s husband, Andy, 10 years after the couple sold their eponymous company. Simply put, Arons is determined to keep her friend’s designs alive.
“We’ve had a lot of people write in and talk about how she had changed their lives and, ‘Please keep going and keep her designs alive,’ and that’s what we’re gonna do,” she said, adding, “We miss her every day. Her spirit is here.”
Speculating about how Spade would feel about the upcoming Frances Valentine fall collection, Arons shared, “I think she would be thrilled, I think she would be really happy to continue to make other women happy… She’d say, ‘I’m okay, don’t worry about me.’ ” (In June, Arons confirmed to Business Insider that Spade left behind four seasons of completed work prior to her death.)
Kate, whose iconic brand made her name synonymous with style, died at age 55 on June 5, 2018.
RELATED VIDEO: Kate Spade, 55, Found Dead in N.Y.C. Apartment from Apparent Suicide
Her husband Andy — whose brother is comedian David Spade — said in a statement to PEOPLE at the time, “Kate was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was the kindest person I’ve ever known and my best friend for 35 years. My daughter and I are devastated by her loss, and can’t even begin to fathom life without her. We are deeply heartbroken and miss her already.”
The couple had been married for 24 years and shared one daughter Frances Beatrix, 13. The duo co-founded Kate Spade New York in 1993, sold the company in 2006, and launched Frances Valentine, along with Arons, in 2016.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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