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The award-winning actress — best known for her starring role on Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel — revealed Wednesday in a Today show interview that she is the face of Frances Valentine, the fashion label her late aunt founded before her death.
“I think 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,” Brosnahan told Today‘s Hoda Kotb. “I think in Katy’s case, there is so much of her left behind, and this was an opportunity for us to celebrate her life and her legacy.”
Spade died by suicide last June at the age of 55. She launched Frances Valentine in 2016 with her husband, Andy Spade, and named the company after their daughter, Frances Beatrix, now 13. The upcoming spring line was designed by Kate Spade’s close friend and now-Frances Valentine CEO Elyce Arons.
According to Brosnahan, Spade’s love for her family inspired much of the new collection. “I know that Kate had always talked about being inspired by my grandmother June, her mother, ripping things straight out of her closet,” she said. “And I feel like that spirit still lives on as well, so it’s really lovely to see those special pieces of our family be reflected in this collection and the ones before.”
Spade previously named one of her namesake handbag designs “Rachel” after her niece. Prior to her death, she named a Frances Valentine bag the “Midge,” after Brosnahan’s beloved TV character.
The chance to celebrate Spade’s life and her contributions to fashion was a “really special experience,” said Brosnahan. “And the collection is just beautiful.” Brosnahan went on to say that “it just felt like the most natural thing” to say yes when Arons asked her to front the campaign.
After Spade’s death, several of her loved ones revealed that the beloved designer had suffered from depression and anxiety for years. Asked to share her advice for others battling mental illness, Brosnahan urged people to ask for help.
“Life is hard. There are so many of us who have experienced the high highs and the low lows that life can contain,” she said. “I know that it can be so difficult to reach up out of the darkness, but you are absolutely never alone, and please do reach out.”
Watch Brosnahan’s Today show interview below.
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