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.
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.
Her debut cover-1949
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.
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.
Katy had a younger redheaded, bespectacled sister named “Sis“.
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.
Her regular boyfriends over the years tended to be muscular boxer K.O. Kelly and his rich blond rival Randy Van Ronson.
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).
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).
What wonderful hats! They would be perfect for the Ascot or Hats and Horseshoe event.
Here are some of her famous paper dolls.
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.
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!