Anne Klein - Fashion Designer Encyclopedia

American designer

Born: Hannah Golofsky in Brooklyn, New York, 7 June 1923. Education: Studied art at Girls' Commercial High School, New

Anne Klein, designed for Junior Sophisticates's 1964 collection. © AP/Wide World Photos.
Anne Klein, designed for Junior Sophisticates's 1964 collection.
© AP/Wide World Photos.
York, and fashion at Traphagen School, New York, 1937-38. Family: Married Ben Klein (divorced, 1958); married Matthew Rubenstein, 1963. Career: Designer, Varden Petites, New York, 1938-40; designer, women's fashions for Maurice Rentner, 1940-47; founder/partner with Ben Klein, Junior Sophisticates, 1948-66; Anne Klein and Co., and Anne Klein Studio design firms established, 1968; firm bought by Takihyo Company after Klein's death, 1974; Donna Karan took over designing, 1973-85; Louis Dell'Olio, 1973-93; Richard Tyler, 1993-94; Patrick Robinson, 1995-98; Ken Kaufman and Isaac Franco, 1998-2001; sold by Takihyo to Kasper ASL Ltd., 1999; Charles Nolan hired as head designer, 2001. Exhibitions: Versailles, 1973; American Fashion on the World Stage, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1993. Awards: Mademoiselle Merit award, 1954; Coty American Fashion Critics award, 1955, 1969, 1971; Neiman Marcus award, 1959, 1969; Lord and Taylor award, 1964; National Cotton Council award, 1965. Died: 19 March 1974, in New York. Company Address: 205 West 39th St., New York, NY 10018, U.S.A.




New York and Hollywood Fashion: Costume Designs from the Brooklyn Museum Collection, New York, 1986.

Milbank, Caroline Rennolds, New York Fashion: The Evolution of American Style, New York, 1989.

Stegemeyer, Anne, Who's Who in Fashion, Third Edition, New York, 1996.


Beckett, Kathleen, "Runway Report: In-Kleined to Wow Fans: Anne Klein," in the New York Post, 1 November 1994.

"New York: Anne Klein," in WWD, 1 November 1994.

Ozzard, Janet, "Anne Klein: The Next Act," in WWD, 1 March 1995.

Wadyka, Sally, "New Kid in Town," Vogue (New York), April 1995.

Schiro, Anne-Marie, "Ralph Lauren Does What He Does Best," in the New York Times, 6 April 1995.

"Anne Klein Said to Be Planning Revival of Designer Collection," in WWD, 18 December 1996.

Gault, Ylonda, "Redesigning Klein," in Crain's New York Business, 17 March 1997.

Parr, Karen, "Anne Klein's New Look," in WWD, 4 May 1998.

Carmichael, Celia, "A Suave Design Team…at Anne Klein," in Footwear News, 17 August 1998.

"Anne Klein's New Era: Kasper to Buy Name, Aims for Megabrand," in WWD, 17 March 1999.

D'Innocenzio, Anne, "Anne Klein: New Owners, New Era," in WWD, 27 January 2000.

McCants, Leonard, "Anne Klein: Bringing Back the Lion," in WWD, 6 June 2001.

Wilson, Eric, "Building Anne Klein to Bite Back," in WWD, 4October 2001.


Known as an American designer, Anne Klein often bragged she had never seen a European collection. Klein's philosophy was "not with what clothes might be but what they must be." Klein's career spanned three decades and her contributions to the industry were many. Like Claire McCardell before her, Klein helped to establish casual but elegant sportswear as defining American fashion.

Most notably, Klein transformed the junior-sized market from little-girl clothes designed with buttons and bows to clothes with a more sophisticated adult look. She also recognized that clothes for juniors should be designed for size rather than age. By analyzing the lifestyles of young women, Klein realized the fashions offered to them did not reflect their needs. In 1948, Klein and her first husband, Ben Klein, opened Junior Sophisticates, a company dedicated to this market, thus expanding the industry. Her first collection for Junior Sophisticates featured the skimmer dress with jacket; full, longer skirts; small waists; and pleated plaid skirts with blazers.

During the mid-1960s Klein freelanced for Mallory Leathers, where she established leather as a reputable dress fabric in the ready-to-wear market. She designed leather separates in bright colors and smartly styled silhouettes. In 1968 Anne Klein and Company and Anne Klein Studio were opened by Klein and her second husband, Chip Rubenstein. Focusing on sportswear with elegant styling, Klein established the concept of separates dressing. In doing this, she was

Anne Klein, 2001: matte gold pailette wrap gown, designed as an option for an Academy Award® nominee. © AP/Wide World Photos.
Anne Klein, 2001: matte gold pailette wrap gown, designed as an option for an Academy Award® nominee.
© AP/Wide World Photos.
teaching women a new way to dress. Klein proclaimed, "Do not buy haphazardly, but rather with a theme of coordination." In the showing of the collections as well as in the stores, Klein emphasized how interchangeable the clothes were. Her designs were sold in boutiques called Anne Klein Corners, which were in major department stores. This marked the beginnings of the individual designer shops within retail environments. Accessories also became an important part of the overall look; Klein designed belts, chains, shoes, and scarves which complemented her clothes.

Klein focused on the needs of the American business woman in many of her collections for Anne Klein & Company. She relied on her own instincts to understand the diverse needs of the 1960s woman. By simplifying clothing, and showing women how to coordinate separates and accessorize, Klein taught the American woman how to dress with a minimum amount of fuss. The result was a finished, sophisticated look. The classic blazer was the central garment with shirtdresses, long midis and trousers introduced as well.

Anne Klein died in 1974. Designers Donna Karan and Louis Dell'Olio made significant contributions to fashion in her name, but left to pursue separate careers. Richard Tyler briefly came on board but did not fit with the Anne Klein aestethic. Patrick Robinson, Ken Kaufman, and Isaac Franco designed over the next several years before Charles Nolan, formerly of Ellen Tracy, was hired as head designer in 2001. With Nolan at the helm, the Anne Klein name returned to the catwalk after an absence for several years. Jenny Bailly, writing for the Fashion Windows website (22 September 2001), commented on Nolan's second collection for Anne Klein, "Our favorite pieces…were the well-cut, slightly flared trousers, accented with side-stitching and two-inch slits at the bottom." Bailly also praised Nolan's cocktail dresses and a neon orange linen coat.

—Margo Seaman;

updated by Owen James

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: