Rachel Brosnahan is the new face of late-aunt Kate Spade's label

By Sarah Walker

Rachel Brosnahan has become the spring 2019 face of Kate Spade’s line Frances Valentine, which the designer created 24 years ago. The role is, of course, an honour – but it's extra special for the actress, given she's the niece of the late designer, who sadly passed away last year.

“In the wake of Katy’s passing, my family and I were so overwhelmed and encouraged by the love and support we received from those who were touched by Katy’s work, many of whom were strangers from around the world,” The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star told People in their latest issue. “When you lose someone you love, you search for boundless ways to keep their memory alive. This felt like a way to do that through her beautiful creations and an opportunity to share them with all of those who her work meant so much to.”

Speaking on the Today show on Tuesday (Jan. 29), she added: “This was an opportunity for us to celebrate her life and her legacy and how much she meant not only to us but to so many other people — and the impact that she’s had on the fashion industry. It was a really special experience and the collection is beautiful.”

The designer died by suicide at the age of 55 in June 2018. She created Frances Valentine 24 years ago with her husband and best friend, Elyce Arons. She named the label after her daughter Frances Beatrix.

“I think it’s more meaningful than any other campaign we’ve done because it’s [Rachel], and she was so close to Katy,” Elyce said of the collection. “I know it would really make Katy smile.”

Kate and Rachel attended the off-Broadway opening of 'The Woodsman' together in 2016. Photo: © Walter McBride/Getty Images

The designer went on to describe the spring items as very Kate. “It is vintage-modern. It is keeping Kate’s designs and creativity and spirit alive through Frances Valentine with beautiful bags and they are really classic. They are something you could wear 10 years ago or 10 years from now.”

During the Today interview, Rachel also spoke directly to anyone struggling with mental health issues: “Life is hard. There are so many of us who have experienced the high-highs and low-lows that life can contain and I know that it can be so difficult to reach up out of the darkness but you are absolutely never ever along and please do reach out. And everyone else, reach out to the people that you love and remind them that you love them.”

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