I'm reading Hold the Roses, the autobio of Rose Marie (who is probably best known for her role as Sally on "The Dick Van Dyke Show"). Haven't finished it yet but I was pleasantly surprised by this brief account of Deanna Durbin's influence in Rose Marie's early stage life.
" Kids in those days [late 1930s] had a rough time going from twelve to sixteen years old. There were no 'in-between' clothes or shoes like kids have today. It was Mary Jane flats, Red Cross shoes or high heels. The dresses were either too young-looking or too old-looking. . . .
I couldn't find the right clothes for the stage that would be appropriate for me at my age. Thank God for Deanna Durbin. She was fifteen or sixteen and in the movies. The studio made some beautiful, youthful evening gowns for her. Lord and Taylor in New York had copies of those dresses. I opened a charge account there and got three of them.... So I was able to get clothes that were right for me."
It's a small nod to Universal's singing star, but I find it fascinating. If I were to search for a fairly recent equivalent I'd say the Olsen twins' line of apparel would be similar - selling stylish 'tween clothes. I doubt, though, that Ms. Durbin received any revenue for the clothes that she made popular. Who knows?
Everywhere I turn, it seems, I'm learning a lot about Deanna Durbin's huge influence in the world. Fascinating stuff.