ANNE KLEIN
A NO-FRILLS PIONEER TALKS ABOUT THE CLASSICS.

Byline: Elsa Klensch, May 1971

Anne Klein has always believed in the classics…and her look epitomizes what’s happening for fall on SA.
Her collection is a smash hit, and the company she started three years ago with her husband, Chip Rubenstein, is now doing more than $6 million a year. Anne is not surprised her classic concept has made her one of the hottest designers on SA.
“I’ve always believed in what I do. I’ve always had a very personal attitude toward the clothes I’ve designed. I will never put anything into a collection that I will not enjoy wearing myself.”
She adds she is successful because “there are enough women in the world who want to dress as I dress. My customers want to wear their clothes and not have their clothes wear them. They are also very quality-conscious. They want to be able to toss a jacket over a sofa and pick it up without it being full of creases.
“My customer is a busy woman and a realist like I am. To me, one of the most depressing things in the world is to be in a Fifth Avenue store at 11a.m. and see those rich women who have lots of money and time and spend it all shopping.”
Anne has two reasons why classics have returned so strongly. “The first is the bad business a lot of people have experienced. Possibly it is a very presumptuous thing to say, but SA has always been known to follow the leader, and our success has been almost legendary.
“Also, the whole world is becoming more casual. We live more casually, we entertain more casually. How many women really dress to go to the theater these days?
“In a way, I have created a monster with the Anne Klein collection,” she says. “I think it all out, organize it for the customer so she doesn’t have to get up in the morning figuring out what to wear with what. This leaves me very restricted in other areas as a designer. I can’t do every skirt or coat or dress I want to because it will not go with this or that….
“A few years ago, I made a speech for the NRMA, and I said the country was ready for fashion in everything — wrapping paper, a can of sardines or airplanes — but the manufacturers would not give it to them. But, if you give fashion to the consumer, she will accept it and love you for it.”

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