What did you wear when you were 11? (Just play along—this is totally relevant.) I, for one, favored a characteristically 1990s wardrobe of Birkenstocks, patterened sweatshirts and, of course, the occasional tie-dyed tee. Not to generalize, but my guess is that a majority of my well-dressed fellow 20-somethings had similar wardrobes. Well, save for Lena Dunham and Jemima Kirke, apparently.
As Vogue unearthed in honor of Lena Dunham’s momentous February cover, Lena and Jemima first appeared in the glossy in March of 1998, as pre-teens—and very sartorially savvy ones at that. For the story, Vogue regular Plum Sykes closet-hopped amongst the fashionable wunderkinds of New York City, which, in addition to the two Girls stars, included an equally young Stella Schnabel and Annabelle Dexter-Jones.
On Jemima, then 12, Plum wrote (and recorded, via Jemima’s mother Lorraine): "’Jemima went to school today in a Prada coat. Mine. I said to her, ‘You’re not wearing that to school.’ She just said, ‘Why not?’ and that was that.’ Jemima is twelve, and her wardrobe makes Clueless look like Kmart. She saunters around her parents’ apartment in a pair of ’70s patchwork trousers worn low-slung, a cashmere sweater from a flea market, and Adidas sneakers. She’s got a blue streak in her blonde hair and glitter on her eyelids. Very Fiona Apple."
An 11-year-old Lena, Vogue proved, was equally precocious—despite having a measly teenybopper’s income. "’I tried to model this after Helmut Lang,’ says Lena, showing off a shift she sewed herself. Her fashion pronouncements are something you’d expect from a woman (at least) three times her age: ‘I tend not to go for trends. You can only wear them for two weeks…I really like Jil Sander, but it’s so expensive…I find Calvin Klein really hard to respect because he’s everywhere. I view him as a clothesmonger…Manolo is really classy.’ Then she returns to preteen reality—’But five dollars a week [i.e., her allowance] isn’t really enough. I’m just looking.’" The struggle is real, right, Lena?
Also, it’s worth pointing out that though the two future costars attended the same school, they didn’t know each other at the time of the article. But, as Fashionista reports: "Thanks to the piece—Dunham’s photo was cut, and Kirke’s wasn’t—she introduced herself at a school dance and the pair became friends."
You can read the full, amazing piece on Vogue.com.