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Anne Klein Gets Edgy

Anne Klein is taking another leap.

Byline: LISA LOCKWOOD

NEW YORK -- Anne Klein is taking another leap.


After reinvigorating the collection last year under designer Richard Tyler, the company has a brand-new, hard-edged image, photographed by Steven Meisel.


Some will like it, some will hate it, but this fall's ad campaign is definitely not the old Anne Klein.


"I just want to take Anne Klein into the future. That's my number one priority," said Tyler, in an interview last week.


After two back-to-back seasons of using Nastassja Kinski in its ads, Tyler booked Meisel and began the search for "three strong women" -- Nadja Auermann, Shalom and Kirsty Hume.


The result is a vampy, aggressive, black-and-white Chris Von Wagenheim-ish nighttime fantasy, complete with helicopters, DeLorean cars and dark alleys.


"The clothes are strong, glamorous and feminine; we needed models in the same feeling," said Tyler.


Tyler said the inspiration was the movie "Three Coins in the Fountain," in which three American girls romp through Rome.


In a modern interpretation of the "night on the town" theme, 14 black-and-white images were shot in New York and the ads were produced by Anne Klein's in-house ad staff.


Tyler said he chose Meisel because "I wanted a story line, and I love the way he shoots." The black-and-white images can't be pinned down to a specific time period, Tyler said, adding, "They look as though they could be from the Forties or from the future."


The company's budget has increased. Anne Klein will spend $2 million on the fall campaign, up from $1.4 million last fall, said Andrew Rosen, president of the Anne Klein Group. He pointed out that the fall campaign will be devoted entirely to Anne Klein and its licensees, whereas last fall's campaign also included Anne Klein II and A Line.


"The collection is where everything starts. It's not the biggest thing we do, but it's the most important thing we do," said Rosen.


The ads feature various Anne Klein products, including tailored suits, silk blouses and licensed products such as coats, footwear, handbags, jewelry, sunglasses, hosiery and watches.


The company will use a combination of four-page cover gatefolds and spreads. The campaign breaks in the August issues of Vanity Fair, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar and will run in the September issues of Mirabella, W and Elle, among others.

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