Essentialism. The Row SS23

While we quickly forgot most of the valuable lessons we told ourselves the pandemic had taught us, it does seem to have affected one aspect of our lives: our approach to clothes shopping. Somehow our choices now feel less fussy, less complicated, more essential. Granted, essentialism has always coursed through the veins of The Row. This season, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen took it to sublime heights. Shot in the streets of Paris and presented in the Galerie Seguin, their spring-summer 2023 collection portrayed the daily lives of their customers and the way we adapt to changing scenarios throughout the day. Whether it’s different levels of formality – office hours, lunch dates, evening events – or the inside-vs.-outside temperature differences we all increasingly have to deal with in a climate change reality, the clothes we actually wear now have to imbued with certain functions and assets to actually work in our everyday lives. That fact informed a collection of more-than-meets-the-eye garments founded in considered fabric choices and functional design. Putting lightness at the forefront, the Olsens structured suits and dresses in luxurious, breathable linens, while linen trench coats came with fabric coatings that made them feel outerwear-y without defeating the purpose. A number of pieces were instilled with day-to-night folding techniques, allowing the wearer to transform their level of formality. The train of a jute dress, for instance, could be folded into the dress itself and buttoned or let out for the full dramatic effect, the hoods of coats were detachable, and the sleeves of a black dress could be unhooked by way of tiny closures. As an ironic nod to the wardrobe issues we all deal with in the heat, a leather skirt was adorned with creases as a form of texture.

The idea of essentialism also informed the Olsens’ level of details and decoration, or rather lack thereof. Everything was made as minimal as possible but without compromising the sense of drama that made this collection a fashion proposition. They cut away necklines to create plunge shapes, disguised hems and pockets, and removed zips and buttons. In menswear, they gave super-light unlined suiting the structure you usually only get from lining through the kind of fabrication that makes The Row worth its price tag, and proposed the kind of luxe oversized shirts and loose-fitting knits that made you want to invest in a new wardrobe for a changed climate. Heavenly…

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.


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