Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsens, austere luxe offering.
Monday morning found us alighting the stairs at an Upper East Side townhouse, the setting of The Row's autumn winter 2013 presentation. On the second floor, designers Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen held court in rooms decorated with branches of cherry blossoms.
The sisters have completed their reinvention as designers, so accepted--no, welcomed--by the New York fashion establishment that last year, they won the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Womenswear Designers of the Year award. They've made it into the club the same way as Victoria Beckham: through a consuming dedication to learning their trade and getting it right. This exacting all-angles approach was in evidence at the presentation, so much so that when a folded-up carpet corner risked tripping up a model (or interfering with a photo op), it was Ashley, not a publicist or production team member, who darted out to set it straight.
So then, the clothes: austere separates in fabrics that just exuded luxury. Black, cream and rich all over, there were kimono-esque jackets, perfect coats and slim black trousers. A cocoon of a cable-knit jumper in wool cashmere looked like just the thing we'd most love to curl up in on a slushy day like today.
Mary-Kate called it 'Edwardian with a bit of an Asian influence,' as evident in the flat ruffled collars on blouses, and in the origami folds of a shoulder train on a narrow strapless dress in heavy cream silk jacquard. There was also a lot of fur, with mink and astrakhan panels adorning coats, dresses and handbags. (It's not just The Row--fur is everywhere at NYFW.)
Most of all, the collection felt like a continuation of ideas from past seasons. 'At the end of the day, all the collections sit together and there's a lot of crossover,' Mary-Kate said.
As for those frilly bedroom mules adding a dash of humour from every model's feet, 'It was a little bit of a feminine touch, something hat was reminiscent of being in homes, and Old Hollywood,' Ashley said. And then she dashed off to fix the carpet, yet again.