As I entered the world of vintage several years ago, I stumbled upon a vintage beauty in illustrated form, whose style and beauty took my breath away. She was simply stunning and I would yearn for her early days wardrobe (1940s-early 1960s) every time I saw her images. Her name was Katy Keene.

Katy Keene Doll
Source: bennypdrinnon

History:

Created by American illustrator Bill Woggon (1911-2003), Katy Keene made her debut in issue no. 5 of Wilbur (Archie Comics) in 1945, appeared in subsequent issues of Wilbur and various anthology comic series in the 1940s including Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica andGinger, eventually receiving her own title in 1949 which ran for 12 years. The character also appeared as a paper doll both in the comic book and in a separate publication series.

Wilbur comic book
Source: My comic shop

Her debut cover-1949

katy Keene issue 1 1949
Source: My comic shop

After the early 60s Katy was not seen again till the 1980s where she was revived, first with the Katy Keene Fan Magazine, which ran 18 issues until 1983 and then with Archie Comics officially reviving the character in that same year. The 90s saw her retire again, only to be reintroduced in 2005 for 10 more stories.

1983 Katy Keene
1983 Katy Keene. Source: My comic shop

 

She is now officially out of print/retired (source).

Who was Katy?

Katy was a young model/actress/singer who was drawn to reflect the fashionable female image of America’s postwar period: less exotic ‘pin-up’, more girl next door – but with the ambition and drive to make it as a successful career woman.

Supporting Characters:

Katy had a younger redheaded, bespectacled sister named “Sis“.

1950s Katy Keene
Source: My comic shop

Katy’s rival in her career and love life is the wealthy and snobby blonde Gloria Grandbilt and her best friend is the superstitious redhead Lucki Lorelei. Both Gloria and Lucki are also successful models, with the level-headed brunette Katy rounding out the trio.

katy Keene comic book with gloria
Gloria. Source: delanceydamevintage
Lucki Lorelei from Katy Keene
Source: Pinterest

Her regular boyfriends over the years tended to be muscular boxer K.O. Kelly and his rich blond rival Randy Van Ronson.

katy Keene

Fun Fact: 

Her comics were interactive in that readers were encouraged to submit original drawings of outfits and accessories for her and her friends to wear, as well as designs for automobiles, homes, interiors, rocket ships, trailers and boats. These designs were used in the comics with credit given to published submissions (source).

Woggon established a loyal fan base, many of whom went on to become established designers in their own right (names include Anna Sui and Betsey Johnson) (source).

Katy Keene comic book
Source: My comic shop

 

Now since this is the Vintage Inn and my main focus is Mid-Century lets take a peak at the insanely wonderful fashion of Miss Katy and her friends (some which have already been seen above).

katy Keene Annual
Source: Comic Vine

What wonderful hats! They would be perfect for the Ascot or Hats and Horseshoe event.

Katy Keene comic book 1950s
Source: My comic shop
Katy Keene comic strip with boyfriends
Source: My comic shop

Here are some of her famous paper dolls.

Katy Keene Paper Doll
Source: Out of this world blog
katy Keene Paper Doll
Source: Tumblr-Vintage Gal
katy Keene Paper Doll
Source: Pinterest

Last fact– Did you know that the singer Katy Perry has been documented saying that her look is taken from our very own Katy Keene. Here is some Proof.

katy Keene and Katy Perry
Source: buzzio

 

Question time: Did you ever read Katy Keene? Do you have a favorite Katy and friends outfit? Do tell!

Now I’m off to figure out how to make her wardrobe mine. Ta Ta for now!

Liz 🙂

11 comments on ““Katy Keene”- America’s Illustrated Queen of Pin-Ups and Fashions”

    • She is sooo awesome. Thanks 🙂 Now I want to find some for my collection that don’t cost and arm and a leg.

  1. She is fabulous. I collected Archies as a kid and still have boxes of some 40s ones. Katy’s hair is very blue/black Veronica. She sure does talk a lot of smack about Gloria. I like how they seem to be strutting in their amazing outfits. And poor Sis; is she adopted? I don’t think a few years will have her blossoming into Katy. I hope she is good at accounting or something. I can see the Katy Perry connection, too. I even like her 1983 look. Quite the fashion plate!

    • Ohhh nice about having some in your collection, your very lucky. Some of the early katy’s are going for a good price. I had archies but they were later when she was not in them anymore 🙁

      You can see what “Sis” looked like in the 80’s I believe, because they aged her into a teenager. She was cute but not like her sister. I was wondering about the adoption thing as well lol!

      thanks for stopping by!

      Liz

  2. Awesome post, dear Liz!!! My first introduction to Ms. Keene was the 80s version, as I was an avid Archie (and the like) comic reader as a youngster. I don’t recall when, a bit later on in life, I found out she was decades older, but I fell much more in love with her when I did and have been inspired by your to-die-for wardrobe and enjoyed her fun filled model’s life many times since. I wonder if she’s truly a thing of the past now, or if, like Cher, she’ll keep coming back from retirement time and time again. 🙂

    ♥ Jessica

    • Oh I do hope she comes back Jessica but in 1950s form, not 2015 hipster form (ohhh man could you imagine?? Trying not too lol).

      I was an avid reader of archies in the 80s too but honestly don’t remember her. Maybe because I was super true to just reading Archies and nothing else. Hmmmmmm I don’t remember. Anyways don’t matter, she is awesome!

      Thanks for the stop by Jessica, have a super weekend 🙂

      Liz

    • YES! Mission accomplished! I thought that everyone in the vintage world had heared of her, but I was wrong. yay!! No go forth and become obsessed 🙂 lol

  3. I really enjoyed this as I have wondered all about Katy Keene and now I have learnt loads. I have lots of her paper doll pages on my Pinterest board because I adore her outfits but didn’t know anything else. When you have worked out how to make her wardrobe yours please share!

    • lol! I will 100% share with you on how to make her outfits but don’t hold your breathe hahaha 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! I actually was inspired by all your pinterest pins, so thank you!

      Liz

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