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Birth of fashion designer Anne Klein

August 3, 1923

Born in Brooklyn on August 3, 1923, Hannah Golofski would grow up to become noted fashion designer Anne Klein. Discovering her gift for design while attending Girl's Commercial High School in Brooklyn, she found work in the garment industry directly out of high school. Within a year, she was working at Varden Petites where she redesigned the firm's line, introducing a new style of ready-to-wear and sophisticated clothing for young (thin) women that would come to be known as Junior Miss.

In 1948 she married clothing manufacturer Ben Klein and became principal designer of Junior Sophisticates, a new company established by her husband. In this role, Anne Klein transformed the type of clothing available for petite women like herself. Junior Sophisticates offered elegant styles to shorter women who previously had to make due with more child-like attire. In addition, Klein was the first designer to follow the example of French designer Coco Chanel, adapting men's clothes (suites, jackets, shirts) for women's use.

Klein continued to innovate. During the 1950s, she introduced clothing that was sold as "separates," offering women a range of jackets, blouses, skirts, and slacks that could be bought together and then assembled into many different outfits. When Klein's marriage ended in 1960, so did her connection with Junior Sophisticates. In 1963, she remarried and established her own design studio. She specialized in redesigning the failing clothing lines of other companies. In 1968, Anne Klein and Company opened with Klein as director and half-owner. By the early 1970s, more than 800 American department stores and dress shops carried her creations.

Klein won numerous fashion awards. In 1973, she was the only woman invited to participate in a fashion show consisting of five American and five French prominent designers, intended to raise money for renovations at Versailles. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York restaged the American component of this show in 1993.

Since the designer's death in 1974, the Anne Klein label has remained a strong presence in retail stores around the world.

See also: Donna Karan; Advertising and Consumer Culture in the United States.

Source: Fred Carstensen, "Anne Klein," American National Biography Online, www.anb.org.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "This Week in History - Birth of fashion designer Anne Klein." (Viewed on April 21, 2014) <http://jwa.org/thisweek/aug/03/1923/anne-klein>.