Hannah Golofski was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1921. She studied at the Girls Commercial High School and won a scholarship to the Traphagen School of Fashion. In 1936, at the age of 15, she started working as a sketcher on New Yorks 7th Avenue. She changed her name to Anne Klein. In 1939, she married her first husband Ben Klein and joined Varden Petites where she was responsible for the junior lines.
In 1948, she formed her own firm Junior Sophisticates and made designs for young women. In 1968, she formed Anne Klein and Co in partnership with her second husband Matthew (Chip) Rubinstein.
In addition to fashion design, Anne Klein invented several devices for the clothing industry. In 1967 she patented a girdle designed specially for mini-skirt wearers.
Anne Klein was named to the Coty Fashion Hall of Fame in 1971 having won two previous Coty awards. She was the only designer to twice win the Neiman-Marcus award for fashion leadership, in 1959 and 1969.
Along with Bill Blass, Stephen Burrows, Halston and Oscar de la Renta, Anne Klein joined a special fashion show at Versailles in France in 1973, to help raise funds for the palace. French designers Yves St. Laurent, Cardin, Dior, Givenchy and Ungaro also took part.
She died suddenly in 1974 at the young age of 51. Donna Karan and Louis Dell'Olio were working at her firm, and they took over the design side of her company. They also won several Coty awards while at Anne Klein.
Many designers have worked for the house of Anne Klein. Richard Tyler was there, Patrick Robinson designed from 1994 to 1996. Charles Nolan was the designer for Anne Klein for a few seasons till 2003. He was a 20 year veteran of the fashion industry, including many years with Bill Blass.
In the year 2001, the city of New York decided to honour American fashion designers by placing bronze plaques along 7th Avenue, the great street of fashion in New York. This has been called the "FASHION WALK OF FAME." Anne Klein was one of those honoured, and here is a picture of her plaque.
In early April 2003, it was announced that Charles Nolan was leaving the house of Anne Klein with immediate effect. Michael Smaldone (born 1964) whom Nolan had hired as his number two six months ago, was tapped to replace him. He is shown on the right. Smaldone spent 8 years at Banana Republic. He studied at FIT, New York and Polimoda in Florence, Italy.
After his first and only collection for Anne Klein, Michael Smaldone announced that he is moving over to the Ann Taylor group. On September 17th, 2003 the house of Ann Taylor appointed Smaldone Senior Vice President of Design. Now we will wait and see who is going to design the Fall 2004 collection for Anne Klein.
Anne became one of the most popular sportswear designers in the USA, famous for matching dresses and jackets, wasp-waisted dresses, blazers and battle jackets. She also made hooded blouson tops and slinky jersey dresses. Her clothes were smart, practical and fashionable.