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Young Originals: Emily Wilkens and the Teen…
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Young Originals: Emily Wilkens and the Teen Sophisticate (Costume Society…

by Rebecca Jumper Matheson

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0896729249, Paperback)

In the early 1940s, American designer Emily Wilkens went beyond her previous experience in children's wear to create costumes for two teenage characters in a Broadway play. Recognizing the growing importance of the teenager in American culture, she soon launched Emily Wilkens Young Originals, the first designer label specializing in upscale, fashionable clothing for teenage girls. Within the space of a few years, Wilkens skyrocketed from obscurity to national recognition, yet even today many fashion insiders would not recognize her name.
        Fashion historian Rebecca Jumper Matheson explores intertwining stories of female agency through the history of Wilkens and her teenage clientele. Wilkens retained both artistic and business control over her label in an era when most American ready-to-wear designers were anonymous employees of manufacturers. Wilkens parleyed her relative youth into a big-sister image which, like her dresses themselves, allowed her to mediate between the concerns of her teenage clients and their parents. Contrary to popular wisdom, Wilkens’s designs declared that even a teenager could be fashionable. In doing so, Wilkens laid the foundation for the seismic shift that would occur later in the twentieth century, when youth became the fashionable ideal.
       Young Originals traces Wilkens’s career from fashion illustrator in the 1930s to spa and beauty expert in the 1980s, emphasizing her consistent ideal of healthy, youthful beauty.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 26 Feb 2016 00:09:47 -0500)

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