While celebrities and fashion houses have been coming out in force to pay tribute to the woman behind the brand, now Kate’s sister, Reta Saffo, has spoken out about her sister’s battle with mental illness, telling the Kansas City Star that the designer had suffered for the last three or four years, resistant to get help for fear that it could affect her brand.
‘I’d flown out to Napa and NYC several times in the past 3-4 years to help her to get the treatment she needed (inpatient hospitalization),’ wrote Saffo in her statement to the publication. ‘I’d come so VERY close to getting her to go in for treatment (to the same place Catherine Zeta-Jones went for her successful bipolar treatment program). I’d spoken with them on the phone (not telling them exactly who the patient would be). They agreed to fly in and talk with her and take her with them to the treatment center.
Explaining how Kate changed her mind at the last minute, Saffo continued: ‘In the end, the “image” of her brand (happy-go-lucky Kate Spade) was more important for her to keep up. She was definitely worried about what people would say if they found out.’
She concluded: "After numerous attempts, I finally let go. Sometimes you simply cannot save people from themselves."
Kate’s brother-in-law, David Spade, has also addressed the designer’s tragic death, taking to social media to pay tribute.
‘Katy at my book signing,’ he captioned a photo of the two of them together. ‘I love this pic of her. So pretty. I dont think everyone knew how fucking funny she was… Its a rough world out there people. Try to hang on.’
Our thoughts are with Kate’s loved ones at this tragic time.
A version of this article originally appeared on marie claire UK.