In Hold the Roses, the autobiography of Rose Marie (who is probably best known for her role as Sally on "The Dick Van Dyke Show"), the star gives this brief account of Deanna Durbin's influence on her own early career as a child performer.
" 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."
A fairly recent equivalent in making 'tween clothing stylish again might be the Olsen twins' line of apparel. It is doubtful, though, that Ms. Durbin received any revenue for the clothes that she made popular.
Read more about Baby Rose Marie at Bit Part Bloggers:
Classic Television Showbiz: More photos and interview with Rose Marie