PATRICK ROBINSON: THE NEW HOPE

Byline: J.O.

NEW YORK--"What I want to do for Anne Klein is a broad American sportswear collection with many options," said Patrick Robinson, the new designer of Anne Klein Collection.
Robinson's age--28--doesn't bother Frank Mori, president of Takihyo Inc., which owns Anne Klein. Mori pointed out that Donna Karan was 26 when she took over in 1973, following the death of Anne Klein.
"I've talked to him, spent time with him, and he fully understands, appreciates, respects and wants to do Anne Klein," said Mori. "He doesn't want to do some interpretation, but he understands the idiom."
The Tennessee-born Robinson started designing clothes when he was a surfer in Southern California, where he grew up.
But after four years at the Parsons School of Design, two years in Paris working for Patrick Kelly and another four years in Turin, Italy, at GFT as the design director for Giorgio Armani's successful Le Collezioni White Label, Robinson has come to Klein with a very cosmopolitan take on American sportswear.
When Robinson joined the company two months ago, he spent a week looking through old sketch books, at videos and films and at clothes from the Anne Klein archives.
"What I found was that every designer has left something very important to the legacy of Anne Klein," he said. "She built an American sportswear house. Donna Karan made this a house where a working woman could find her way around and find the clothes she needed. Louis Dell'Olio came and really added a sense of humor and color and a little fascination. Richard Tyler came and added quality and tailoring that's impeccable. That's really helped me with my factories off the bat."
"I know prices for retailers is an issue," said Robinson. "I've made a luxury brand of suits that will have all that impeccable tailoring that Richard Tyler brought to the Anne Klein legacy, and that will have a higher price point. But I also have an opening price suit, so I'll have the whole range.
"A woman will be able to buy a designer jacket for around $800," he said.

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