This morning I learned that the woman who designed my purse decided she no longer wanted to be alive.
I didn’t know Kate Spade in any capacity, save for the brand she built around herself. A quirky, preppy empire that speaks forcefully to my inner Charlotte, with its world full of bows and clean lines and tiny, golden charms.
“Get yourself a statement purse. It’s such a reliable conversation piece.”
This advice was given to my class during a workshop with two kickass Hollywood women, while I was completing my MFA in TV & Screenwriting through Stephens College. One of these women was in the process of selling a script to Disney, and the other was on the verge of being nominated for an Oscar. If anyone was going to help me rationalize my purchase of a fabulous purse, it was these two. I clearly had to listen to them and their sage, successful women wisdom.
Within the week, I’d purchased one of my three bucket list bags: a purse from Kate Spade. As a writer myself, I obviously couldn’t afford it at full price. I was not only shopping the sale section of KateSpade.com, I was accessing it via their Sale On Sale link sent exclusively to email subscribers. And yes, I’m plugging an email subscription to Kate Spade for anyone reading this who also covets the line but can only justify it at 70% off things that are already on sale.
My bag is indeed fabulous. It has two oyster-colored panels accented with bright yellow sides. The trim is navy because navy is the perfect collegiate compliment to yellow and oyster. My bag has carried my laptop to coffee shops and meetings, wipes for my daughter’s bottom, tiny toys to keep her entertained, snacks, hand sanitizer, mints, a small emergency makeup kit, my favorite sunglasses, a Christmas gift for a new love, and luggage claim tickets I always save until I’m positive my suitcase wasn’t lost en route to my destination.
After two years of tearing open my soul and typing more words than I could ever count, I earned my MFA. During our twice-yearly residencies, we stayed at the Beverly Garland Hotel, which is even more adorable than it looks. At the end of our last session, I browsed The Store with my newest lifelong friend, carefully selecting a memento to honor our time spent in that space, our little conclave away from home, witness to the words and adventures of 20 ambitious people navigating unchartered territory… I chose a pin. It’s a small, blue pin that embodies the spirit of the work our cohort would set out to create. I took my badge of accomplishment and moxie, and I pinned it to my purse.
Every day, I carry this purse with me. It has indeed sparked conversations and lent itself to forging new relationships, making connections that are so essential to a life of creative work.
Fashion is a mode of personal expression, an escape into other identities, a form of celebration and exploration. It’s creativity we can wear, and art to adorn our bodies. I will never get to tell Kate Spade what my purse means to me. Sure, in many ways, it’s “just a purse.” But it’s also so much more than that. I cannot begin to quantify all of the journeys it has carried me through. So I write this post as a posthumous thank you.
Thank you, Kate. I love my purse.