As the fashion community, celebrities and fans mourn the death of designer Kate Spade, many are looking back at the moment they bought their first of her famous designer handbags. Stylish Suits star Sarah Rafferty is no exception.
“I saved up enough money from my waitering job and I got a commercial and I bought a Kate Spade bag,” the actress, 45, tells PEOPLE. “I got out of drama school, I went to college, and then I moved to New York City, got my waitering job, worked in plays, and pounded the pavement.”
Rafferty admits it was her first splurge bag — and she still has it today.
“I have it somewhere — I saved it,” she says. “I could only afford the small one. It was the classic silky one with the one snap and beautiful little handle.”
Since then, Rafferty’s worn other Kate Spade bags.
“I remember a red, white, and blue plastic tote that I had that was like a beach tote that I always took to our Fourth of July celebrations and stuff,” she recalls.
Kate Spade died by suicide in her apartment on Tuesday morning. She was 55.
“Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for many years,” Spade’s husband, Andy, said in a statement to PEOPLE on Wednesday. “She was actively seeking help and working closely with her doctors to treat her disease, one that takes far too many lives. We were in touch with her the night before and she sounded happy,”
“There was no indication and no warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock. And it clearly wasn’t her. There were personal demons she was battling.”