By Jillian Urcelay
JU: THIS YEAR ANNE KLEIN CELEBRATES ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY. HOW HAS THE BRAND AND ITS DESIGNS EVOLVED OVER RECENT YEARS?
CB: Anne Klein has had a rich legacy for the last 50 years. Anne created a company that spoke directly to women. She thought about their lifestyle needs and provided wardrobing solutions. Known at the time for truly being a pioneer in the fashion industry, she created a business segment that we now know as sportswear. Anne Klein made classics fashionable. Her personal style, interests and innovative vision set a standard for the brand that still lives today. Anne was an inventor, a maverick and a trailblazer, and it is with that mindset that the design has evolved and remained as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. Anne said, “It’s not a revolution, it is an evolution.”
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE THE ANNE KLEIN WOMAN YOU AND YOUR TEAM DESIGN FOR?
The Anne Klein customer is thoroughly modern—she leads a busy life and juggles the complexities of being a woman today. She works, she’s a mother, she’s engaged. But we know she values style, and we design clothes to complement her lifestyle. Anne Klein provides purposeful pieces that make getting dressed easy, from head-to-toe. We believe we are a trusted resource as a complete wardrobe solution.
WHAT IS ANNE KLEIN DOING TO CELEBRATE ITS RICH HISTORY WITH THIS MILESTONE ANNIVERSARY?
With our latest campaign, we harnessed Anne’s rich design legacy and culled the archives for inspiration. We incorporated iconic vintage pieces from past collections as a backdrop to our fall 2018 pieces and through compelling styling, created imagery that bridged decades of classic, wearable style to reinforce Anne’s heritage. We felt strongly that women should and could experience our history, so we partnered with Harper’s BAZAAR to mark this hallmark season with unique activations. All 45 of the original vintage pieces—ranging from the 1960s to 1990s—captured in our campaign were available for purchase via their shopping channel, ShopBAZAAR, and we unveiled a pop-up exhibit here in NYC that showcased the looks and other artifacts from Anne’s archives. It’s been incredibly exciting to see women interact with the brand’s history in such a tangible way.
HOW DO YOU PERSONALLY CONNECT WITH THE BRAND AND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN ANNE KLEIN WOMAN?
My personal connection with the brand is part of my family history in fashion. My father, Don Simonelli, was one of Anne’s first designers in The Anne Klein Studio in 1965. My career began many years later, working at Donna Karan. Donna Karan and Louis Dell’Olio were Anne’s successors after her untimely passing. Upon arriving at Anne Klein three years ago, I quickly understood that my 20-year design tenure had come full circle, and all that I knew now connected back to Anne Klein.
Anne Klein loved to celebrate the everyday and make it beautiful. She made everything feel special. She was practical and pragmatic. Anne was unpretentious—constantly looking at form and function. Anne challenged and evolved all that she touched. She led the way for all working women. I am proud to be an Anne Klein woman.
WHAT STYLE DIRECTION CAN CONSUMERS EXPECT FOR ANNE KLEIN’S FUTURE?
tart with smart, beautiful clothing and accessories that make women feel good. We will continue to honor her design ethos that is relevant even more so today. Our vision is to provide purposeful pieces that elevate our consumer’s every day. Each of our collections—from clothing, to footwear, to eyewear—will work seamlessly together bound by versatility, timelessness and value. Modern classics with a heritage twist are our tagline.