Kate Spade’s Sister Speaks, Anna Sui Gets on the Athleisure Bandwagon

by Taylor Harris

Read today’s dose of chic intel right here…

Kate Spade’s Sister Speaks Out (Page Six & People)
Reta Saffo is speaking out after the sudden death of her younger sister, Kate Spade. Speaking with The Kansas City Star, Saffo claims that Spade suffered from debilitating mental illness and was self-medicating with alcohol. She even told the paper in an email that her sister’s suicide “was not unexpected by me.” Saffo also claims that the family pressured Spade to seek help, but the designer thought a potential hospitalization might damage the “happy-go-lucky” image of her brand.

The paper discloses that Saffo reached out to them initially regarding a correction, emailing them after they’d reported Spade’s death and misspelled Spade’s childhood nickname, which is Katy. After the paper made the correction, they asked Saffo if they could interview her by phone. Saffo responded to their email request to say she was unwilling to take a call and had taken a sedative.

Though, she added: “I will say this was not unexpected by me. 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). She was always a very excitable little girl and I felt all the stress/pressure of her brand (KS) may have flipped the switch where she eventually became full-on manic depressive.

“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.

“She was all set to go — but then chickened out by morning. I even said I (would) go with her and be a ‘patient’ too (she liked that idea) I said we could talk about it all — our childhood, etc. That I could help her fill in any blanks she might have.

“That seemed to make her more comfortable, and we’d get sooo close to packing her bags, but — in the end, the ‘image’ of her brand (happy-go-luck Kate Spade) was more important for her to keep up. She was definitely worried about what people would say if they found out. After numerous attempts, I finally let go. Sometimes you simply cannot SAVE people from themselves! One of the last things she said to me was, ‘Reta, I know you hate funerals and don’t attend them, but for me would you PLEASE come to MINE, at least. Please!’ I know she perhaps had a plan, but she insisted she did not.”

Saffo ended her email saying, “She was a dear little person. So dear — so kind, so funny. I’ll miss our 6-7-hr-long phone conversations between NY and NM. I’m off to bed for a good cry.”

She also released a statement to CBS New York and the Daily Mail that read: “My little sister Katy was a precious, precious little person. Genuine in almost every way. She was surrounded by YES people, for far too long, therefore she did not receive the proper care for what I believe to be (and tried numerous times to get help for) Bipolar disorder… stemming from her immense celebrity. She never expected it — nor was she properly prepared for it. Unfortunately, untreated, it finally took its toll on her.”

Saffo’s statements, however, are being contested by the rest of the family. A source tells People that Saffo has long been estranged from her designer sister, whom the source says was a “kind, generous, funny, warm, and extremely private person.”

“The family is disgusted and saddened that at this time of great sorrow, Kate’s sister who has been estranged from the entire family for more than 10 years would choose to surface with unsubstantiated comments,” the source says. “Her statements paint a picture of someone who didn’t know her at all.”

Woolmark Announces It’s Advisory Council and 2018/19 Nominees
It’s that time of year again — The Woolmark Company has appointed an Advisory Council to review applications and nominate semi-finalists for this year’s International Woolmark Prize. This year’s council includes: Tim Blanks, Jefferson Hack, Christine Centenera, Alison Veness, Rebecca Khoury, Catherine Baba, Sara Sozzani Maino, Gert Jonkers, Christiane Arp, Colin McDowell, and Diet Prada’s Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler.

Over 300 emerging designers applied for the prize this year, and the council has winnowed the pool down to 42 nominees who will present their work to the council during semi-finals in July. Twelve finalists will then be culled, each receiving a seed investment of $54,000 to create a capsule collection made from merino wool. One menswear and one womenswear designer will finally be crowned the winners, each receiving $152,000. Among the nominees are 8 American designers: Brandon Maxwell, Nicole Heim and Chelsea Healy of Cienne, Andrea Tsao of Deveaux New York, Kirk Millar and Sam Linder of Linder, Willy Chavarria, Michael and Nicole Colovos of Colovos, Piotrek Panszcyk and Beckett Fogg of Area and Robert Childs of CHILDS New York. The full list of semi-finalists can be found here.

Anna Sui to Launch Athleisure (WWD)
Anna Sui is working on an athleisure collection that will bow in China before rolling out globally. The lineup “will mix top performance fabrics with the newest garment technology, so it would be interesting to see how the nostalgic Anna Sui image mixes with modern activewear styles,” Sui said. “We want to bring something different into the activewear space.” She added, “the performance line is highly functional, covering yoga, fitness and running, and the lifestyle line is for leisure and less intensive occasions. That being said, we try not to limit people’s imagination on where and how to wear these pieces.” The launch is expected for spring 2019.

Anna Sui (Patrick McMullan)

Jason Wu, Andreja Pejic, and Fernando Garcia Get Centered For New York City’s LGBT Community Center
A host of designers, editors, and tastemakers dined in the name of LGBT rights on Sunday night. Jason Wu, Andreja Pejic, Fernando Garcia, John Targon, Donna Karan, Isaac Mizrahi, Fern Mallis, LadyFag, and Syliva Prada all gathered for the annual Fashion Centered supper in the West Village.

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