Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Original Anne Klein sketches circa the mid 1970's.

I am one that honors the past and draws from it for inspiration. In fashion, what is old is new again. Look at the world's runways and you will see how this statement rings true - just look at Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Chloe and even Dior, among many others. These design houses have an amazing eye for the vintage and an even more amazing hand for making it new. It is all in the proportion, styling and fabrication that a designer makes it fresh. Hell, sometimes they don't change a thing and just slap it back up on the runway. Clothes can have their moment again without change, too. Designers such as Rei Kawakuba and Issey Miyake are constantly pushing the envelope forward, eschewing the popular inspiration of vintage clothes. Both schools have their merits (and faults). It's all relative.

I used to design for Anne Klein - it was my second job out of school. Anne had already died during the late 70's from cancer. Prior to my arrival, the company had been headed by Donna Karan, Louis Dell'Olio, Richard Tyler and Patrick Robinson over the years. Then my bosses came and I ended up being there for 3 years.

One of the things I loved to do was to go through the sketch archive and see the original sketches. Some of the sketches had been drawn by Anne herself, others by her onetime assistant Donna Karan and others by some of the other design greats that had worked there.

Well, from what I understand, as the company changed hands a million times after we left, that very special, invaluable sketch archive was thrown in the trash. My heart was broken when I heard this. I wish they had donated them to FIT or Parsons or to me. I would have killed (well not quite killed) for them.

But I have a few copies and they will have to do. I had these copies because I had worked on a sketch for the cover of a trade publication and the sketch had to be influenced by original Anne Klein. Child, to look at that date and think it was over a decade ago is amazing. Here it is:

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