Anne Klein (1923-1974) started out in fashion as a sketcher. In 1938 she went to work at Varden Petites, and through most of the 1940s she designed at Maurice Rentner. In 1948 Anne and her husband Ben Klein formed the Junior Sophisticates label. The label changed the nature of junior fashions, as Klein designed clothes for a more grown-up teen than had been done previously. Junior Sophisticates lasted until the mid-1960s.
In 1968 Klein founded Anne Klein and Company. This label was known for its coordinating lines of separates and for the use of fabrics in new and untraditional ways, such as the pairing of evening with daytime fabrics. The company also produced accessories that were designed to go with the garments in the line.
Klein died unexpectedly in 1974 and Donna Karan was hired to take over the position of head designer. She brought Louis Dell’Olio in as co-designer. He stayed at Anne Klein as head designer after Karan left in 1984. In 1993 the job went to Richard Tyler, who stayed only a year before leaving. The next head designer was Patrick Robinson. Between 2001 and 2003, the designer was Charles Nolan. In an attempt to make the label more upscale, late in 2006 designer Isabel Toledo was named creative director of Anne Klein. After two critically acclaimed collections, she was let go from the company in November 2007.
Written by Lizzie Bramlett, fuzzylizzie.com