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'Mrs. Maisel' star Rachel Brosnahan reflects on aunt Kate Spade's legacy

"This was an opportunity for us to celebrate her life," the actress said about the new line of handbags that pay tribute to the late designer.
/ Source: TODAY

Actress Rachel Brosnahan said hearing about the impact her aunt, iconic handbag designer Kate Spade, continues to have on friends and fans alike has helped her work through her grief.

“We were so touched in hearing, in the wake of this unthinkable tragedy that we all experienced together, how many other people have been touched either by her personally or by her work, by her designs," the award-winning star of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” said Wednesday on TODAY. "It was something that really meant a lot to us and still does.”

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Spade was found dead in her Manhattan apartment on June 5 in what police ruled as a suicide. She was 55.

Brosnahan had previously addressed her aunt's death in social media posts, including one on Spade's birthday last December. She appeared Wednesday on TODAY to discuss “Love, Katy,” the latest collection from the Frances Valentine fashion label Spade launched in 2016 with Elyce Arons, her business partner and best friend.

“She had the best sense of humor of anyone I’ve ever known. She was a practical joker. We had so much fun together,” Arons said.

The “Love, Katy” line of handbags is a tribute to Spade’s memory, style and creative vision.

Rachel Brosnahan opens up about aunt Kate Spade's death
Brosnahan in some of the promotional photos for the new "Love, Katy" collection of handbags inspired by her aunt, Kate Spade. TODAY

Brosnahan, who called her aunt "one of the kindest and most generous people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing,” is featured in a series of advertisements for the line.

“It just seemed like the most natural thing” when Arons asked her to be the public face for the collection," the actress said.

“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, how they can live on for you, and that’s through memories but also, in Katy’s case, there is so much of her left behind,” she said. “Not only to us, but to so many other people and the impact that’s she’s had on the fashion industry. It was a really special experience.”

When asked for her advice to others struggling with mental illness, Brosnahan said people should never be afraid to seek help.

“Life is hard. There are so many of us who have experienced the high highs and low lows that life can contain,” she said. “I know it that can be so difficult to reach up out of the darkness, but you are absolutely never ever alone, and please do reach out.”