NEW YORK, United States — A recently married friend was talking about how her search for a wedding dress ended up at The Row, not because Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen design great wedding dresses but because she'd fallen in love with a fabric the twins were using and couldn't imagine anything more wonderful than starting her new life swathed in it.
That kind of emotional connection with cloth seems to happen a lot with The Row. “It’s where we start,” Mary Kate reiterated one more time at their presentation on Monday. Their latest collection concentrated on finishes. “It’s hard to finish delicate fabrics,” Mary Kate continued. “But I think we succeeded.” Python lacquered black, embroidered cashmere and a fine wool coat pocked with little patches of sequins agreed.
Still, that wasn’t The Row’s newsiest development. The Olsens are mulling the notion of a men’s collection. Half the coats they showed on Monday were made by menswear factories in Italy, like the black overcoat that opened the presentation and a drop-shouldered double-breasted. They were more linear and precise than the coats The Row is already known for.
Those pieces, with their flou and volume, were also in the collection, along with a dozen other reasons for the ardent cult that has attached itself to this label: a long-sleeved t-shirt dress, a kimono-like clutch coat, slip dresses, a luscious leather coat, nipped at the waist, flaring dramatically and so on into ecstatic minimalism. The ardour would be a mystery if there weren’t precedents. Martin Margiela’s collections for Hermès spring to mind (no need to make the Zoran comparison again).
Then there’s the Olsens’ mesmerising twindom. They were sphinx-like in their reserve, their self-containment, as they sat cross-legged on their showroom floor, watching their clothes pass by, while the audience watched them watching.