The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star Rachel Brosnahan has a new project on her plate–and this one is very close to her heart.
You might not know that Rachel is the niece of the late designer Kate Spade. Her aunt tragically died by suicide in 2018, and since then her family has found a way to heal through fashion.
Kate Spade sold her namesake brand in 2006, but she’d been working on a new brand named after her daughter, Frances Valentine. Her best friend, fellow designer Elyce Arons, decided to continue without her.
Now, Rachel and Elyce are collaborating on a collection for Frances Valentine called Love, Katy. They intend it to be a tribute to Kate Spade, but also a way to help each other heal. Rachel told People Magazine:
“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. …[T]his was an opportunity for us to celebrate her life and her legacy.”
Elyce described the line as “modern classic,” with a bold color palette and simple, slightly retro designs. The line includes statement necklaces and stacked beaded bracelets, quirky bags emblazoned with dogs, heart-shaped accessories, and fabulously patterned caftans.
The designs are inspired by items from Kate Spade’s personal collection of costume jewelry and vintage fashion. The website offers stories and snapshots about the pieces, giving visitors a glimpse of the woman who founded one of the most iconic American fashion brands.
Purchases of the “Kate” bag–a sensible, minimalist tote–will help at-risk kids. Frances Valentine has pledged 20% of the proceeds to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Kate Spade believed in helping children’s charities, so it’s another touching way to pay tribute to her memory.
Rachel modeled the clothes for a series of photos on Instagram. She released more photos and an in-depth interview as a People exclusive. It’s impossible not to see the family resemblance between Rachel and her aunt in these pictures.
The photos were shot in the apartment where Kate Spade and her husband, Andy, lived. They played her favorite songs–John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, and the Rolling Stones–and incorporated many of Kate’s favorite things into the collection.
“I think it’s more meaningful than any other campaign we’ve done because it’s [Rachel], and she was so close to Katy,” said Elyce. “I know it would really make Katy smile.”