In the sea of meaningless or overly sophisticated (which, in the end, means the same as meaningless…) collections in New York this season, The Row stuns with confidence and actual sense of real desire put upon us, the viewers. As the models skimmed quickly by in flat slippers and boots, the thrill behind Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen’s line-up was in the finesse of the cuts, precise but relaxed, especially with the addition of turtlenecks layered under silk button-downs or worn solo under jackets. The tailoring is refined and subtle in shilhouette, and the outerwear is a sure winner of the season. It’s quite clear that the designers looked at Martin Margiela’s Hermès for inspiration – especially the layered knits and long, grey gloves that seemed to blur with the clothes. But I’m fine with that. An installation of sculptures by Beverly Pepper, an American artist who worked in stone, corten steel, and iron until she was 97, was the centerpiece at The Row’s show. Pepper died just last week, and the New York Times’s obituary described her as a “sculptor of monumental lightness.” The Olsens’ work definitely identifies with that description.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.
The Row‘s minimalism.
Looking back at the 2010s, it seems to me that Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are the ultimate owners of minimalism. With their sensivity for top knotch quality and craftsmanship, it’s no surprise that The Row is globally renowned among the richest women who, rather than drown in Gucci, have similar preference for clean lines, the comfort of soft cashmere and well, have nowhere else to go since Phoebe Philo left Céline (ok, there’s Lemaire, Jil Sander and Bottega Veneta, but… still, they choose The Row). Their collections don’t surprise, but warm your heart. Coats of the most perfect volume and silhouette. An over-sized ecru turtleneck-dress from the best alpaca yarn you can imagine. Masculine tailoring, beauutifully sculpted at the waist. Timeless, crisp shirting that’s getting better and better while wearing it. Eveningwear that’s pure refiniment and elegance without even one embroidery or print. You don’t expect newness with The Row, except for some unexpected lining detail or an antique embellishment on the bags – so, basically details you will notice only when the clothes arrive on the rack. Other than incredible collections the Olsens staged in New York (and in a French chateau that’s 45 minutes outside Paris back in 2015), the sisters created some of the most beautiful retail spaces (see them here) and an equally magnificent menswear line.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
There’s no need in explaining why The Row is one of New York’s most luxurious brands – existing and thriving. And also, once seeing a The Row shirt in rwal life, you immediately understand its cosmic price. It’s crisp, but not stiff, it’s over-sized, but not slouchy. Even it’s white colour isn’t just white. It’s the shade of white that will match everything. Knowing that, you can forgive Ashley and Mary Kate-Olsen‘s lack of Instagrammable entertainment during their spring-summer 2020 fashion show. A minimal space, and the clothes as the main heros. The look feauturing a lilac shirt and beige pants caused more discussions than the most intricately embroidered dress or the most controversial fashion statement from any other brand we’ve seen this season. While some might say this collection felt distant and lacked spirit, I think its minimalism was finally soft – something I kind of missed from the Olsens in their last collections. This is the collection Carolyn Bessette Kennedy would wear forever. It’s a wardrobe of investment pieces – which, to a great extent is sustainable fashion without being mad about. Whether speaking of the ecru dress made out of cloudy, silk patches, or the ankle-lenght black coat that has the perfectly chic shoulders volume, The Row nails expensive simplicity like no other.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
There’s quite a lot of The Row on the journal this week. Blame it on Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen‘s universe, which is so, so… perfect. Their Los Angeles and New York stores aren’t any news, but posting about them is pure pleasure. Getting the details right is pretty much a full-time occupation for the Olsens. You know that from seeing their collections, for both, women and men. You realize it even more once you see (or are lucky enough to visit) their store interiors. In Los Angeles, the space unfolds at ground level in a personal, quiet way, where one minute you can’t tear your eyes away from a cashmere robe, only to have some exquisite chair begging for your attention the next. As Ashley put it in her own words for Vogue, “in Los Angeles, it’s all about mid-century homes and growing up, it was glass and water and trees.” They opened their second store in New York, the city where the designers are based. Having lived in New York now for 12 years, the Olsens wanted the store to very much feel like a home. Located in a townhouse, with a Jean Michel Basquiat canvas on the wall for instance, it’s a sort of dream-house filled with the finest garments. Induldge yourself in all this The Row goodness by scrolling down to the stores’ images…
8440 Melrose Place / Los Angeles
17 East 71st Street / New York
All photos courtesy of The Row.
The moment when The Row announced its menswear line, my heart skipped a beat. It was quite clear from the very first moment that the men’s wardrobe in Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen‘s viewpoint will be as refined as their women’s The Row. The look-book images that got released on the brand’s new website are even better than what you’ve been expecting. The idea behind the men’s The Row is deeply rooted in the label’s initial concept – and its actual name. The Row takes its name from the London street known for men’s tailoring, Savile Row, and from its inception the understated label has prided itself on its superior fabrics and exceptional craftsmanship. The collection showcases the designers’ signature ability to take classic styles and transform them into modern masterpieces via design nuances that make the brand so special. Ashley and Mary-Kate were inspired by men’s minimalist styles of the ‘80s and ‘90s in New York, elevated through traditional European hand-stitching techniques and Japanese construction. Black turtlenecks, crisp shirting, subtly tailored pants, dreamy coats… the price tags might be deadly (a camel coat 4,250 euros), but those are investment pieces. Real, and big, investments.
The Row‘s pre-fall 2019 release came together with the launch of the brand’s on-line shop. Shortly speaking, the collection is as good as the website and the clothes available there – which of course isn’t a surprise, knowing Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen‘s love for refined. The look-book features the most luxe basics out there, from a cotton poplin shirt to virgin wool pants in the most delightful shade of caramel. Maggie Maurer and Małgosia Bela look stunning in those cashmere turtlenecks, without any make-up or accessories. Browsing through the bags and shoes, you will instantly get why The Row won the CFDA Award for best accessories last week. That’s a lot of The Row news for one post. Need more? When you open the Galerie tab on their website, you’re taken a step further into the Olsen’s universe: here, you can buy items from the sisters’ hand-picked, curated antiques collection – Gustave Serrurier-Bovy’s brass chandelier, a vintage Boucheron ring, Georges Jouve’s vase…
All collages by Edward Kanarecki.
It seems to me that Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are the ultimate owners of minimalism in New York. With their sensivity for top knotch quality and craftsmanship, it’s no surprise that The Row is globally renowned among the richiest women who, rather than drown in Gucci, have similar preference for clean lines, soft cashmere comfort and especially, well, have nowhere else to go since Phoebe Philo left Celine (ok, there’s Lemaire, Jil Sander and Peter Do, and soon Bottega Veneta, but… still, they buy The Row). For autumn-winter 2019, Olsens delivered a collection that didn’t surprise, but as well didn’t dissapoint. Fur, beige coats? Checked. An over-sized ecru turtleneck-dress? Checked. Masculine tailoring? Checked – it got a bit more sculpted at the waist, which is a plus. You don’t really expect newness with The Row, except for some unexpected lining detail or an antique embellishment on a bag – basically details you will notice only when the clothes arrive on the rack.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
No fashion show this time, but a peaceful, tranquil showroom presentation accompanied with a look-book starring Saskia De Brauw. That’s how Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen reply to New York’s fashion week fuss. Oh, the clothes. The Row is heavenly. Majestic. Angelic. But don’t think of any opulent embroideries or ornamental details, no. Rather, a voluminous dove-gray silk dress. Tweedy coat with the frayed edges. Robe-like gowns with regally upturned collars. All hand-made, kept in the highest possible quality of craftsmanship. Those garments don’t look still and statuesque, but flowing. I’m absolutely in love with this one look where a huge bag works as layer of clothing worn over a minimal, sleeveless dress. Editors tend to say that clients who adored Phoebe Philo’s Céline should go to The Row. Well, I wouldn’t go that path of logic. The Olsen twins gradually create their own vocabulary, that is less and less Philo-esque. They finally create distinct clothing that speaks for itself; it says ‘The Row’, not ‘Philo appreciation sample’. Also, a big shoutout to The Row’s new menswear line that launches in October. Mostly with a Made in Japan tag, the men’s garments (just a few preview images were released) will be as exquisite as the women’s. The price range, that starts from $4,000, speaks for itself as well.
Collages by Edward Kanarecki.