Lust For Essentials. The Row SS22

Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen are holding their course, even though most of the designers this season move towards a hedonist mode. Skimp is not in The Row’s vocabulary, and it isn’t likely to be in the future. None of us have been untouched by the pandemic, though, so how has the experience of lockdown changed the Olsens’ design POV and what does The Row’s take on re-emergence style look like? Something unexpected emerged most vividly midway through the lineup in the form of separates for women and men in shades of red and blue, the brightest colors ever to find their way into a collection from the Olsens, who prefer to work with neutrals and classic black and white. There were also the arty details here and there, like the delicate thread belt that accented the drawstring waist of a pair of casual pants or the fringed raw-edges of a fully knit skirt made with three different yarns. A few pieces were hand-painted, a nod, maybe, to the artists and art collectors that number among their clients. The accessories offering has expanded and there was a notable element of fun, as seen in the tiny card cases and coin purses suspended from belts and in the stretchy ankle boots that looked like a cross between scuba socks and wrestler shoes. Overall, the proportions are roomy and the silhouettes are layered – luxe comfort is the key. The Row fans will fall in love with a pair of pressed khakis whose low-slung, flared profile recalled the ’90s, and a jumpsuit with a tank top upper half that was the barest of all the looks assembled here. Pre- or post-pandemic, perfect essentials never go out of style.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

His & Hers. The Row AW21

Seeing both The Row womenswear and menswear in one collection makes so much sense. Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsens‘ autumn-winter 2021 collection is like the full picture of their luxe minimalism world, now shared by her and him. The designers decided to modify their showing schedule, skipping New York Fashion Week altogether and showing in January and June. One of the reasons is logistics and sustainability. Both the women’s and men’s collections are rooted in minimal tailoring and they share materials across them; these include the double-felted wool of outerwear, wool flannel for suits, and a textural knit that they call fur cashmere, all of them subtly luxurious. Of course, the collection is delightful – and feels like detoxicating palette cleanse after all the couture fantasy we’ve experienced last week. Their autumn suiting is strong across both genders. The women’s jackets come with removable shoulder pads, as does a mock-neck, midi-length cashmere dress. Alongside the tailoring, they showed wrapped shapes, emphasizing comfort and warmth. A male model looks practically cocooned in a three-piece fur cashmere set. Amid the oversized proportions and the swaddled forms, a button-down with short three-quarter-length sleeves worn with washed linen wool pants that taper at the ankles stands out. On the accessories front sturdy burnished-leather rain boots in a range of lengths look like top sellers in the making. They’ve also added a nylon tote to their handbag offering. Comfort and practicality have become important talking points in the last year as the pandemic has impacted the industry in so many ways. The Olsens are taking on those conversations – and the one about collection timing, too – but they’re doing so in their usual elegant, refined way.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The Row’s Vintage Selection

It’s no news that vintage is taking over the fashion industry. Sites like Vestiaire Collective and The Real Real are growing competitors for the big on-line empires like Net-A-Porter or Farfetch, while vintage Westwoods and Muglers are historically (and aesthetically) worth more than any trendy, “new season” arrival. Even some brands are opening up to the possibilities of vintage. Dries Van Noten’s Los Angeles store has an expansive section of the label’s archives, all available to buy. And now, The Row is the latest to join the conversation with their newly opened, on-line “Galerie“. I’m pretty much sure that those are Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen‘s personal treasures: an Issey Miyake trench coat from 1979, Chanel haute couture navy total-look from the 70s, John Galliano’s black kimono dress from his iconic spring-summer 1995 collection, some Comme Des Garçons singular items from the 80s and 90s… all items are upon request, but I guess they won’t sit there for long. Hope the Olsens are planning to update their vintage selection from time to time with new, unique garments! Oh… and just imagine wearing those gems with The Row’s investment pieces (maybe even from the second hand?).

Photos via therow.com

The Look(s) – The Row AW20

The Row‘s autumn-winter 2020 collection is a line-up you want to return to once in a while. Especially, when it’s getting colder outside. 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 years for inspiration – especially the layered knits and long, grey gloves that seemed to blur with the clothes. But I’m fine with that.

Collages by Edward Kanarecki

Can’t Go Wrong With Classic. The Row SS21

In tough times, you can’t go wrong with picking the most classic of the classics. The Row is an example:  Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen‘s spring-summer 2021 line-up is all about their brand’s ultimate core, which is comfort, quality and understated luxury. The Row has always been a go-to label for women who favor discretion over bold display. This season finds the designers working especially within their minimalist framework, pushing new cuts and trying out unique materials. The suit of the season is oversized and mannish, with a double-breasted jacket worn over full pleated pants. Emphasizing ease and wearabiluty, they did a similar silhouette in knit. A V-neck vest makes multiple appearances in the look book, worn solo with a midi-skirt or teamed with a crisp white shirt and trousers. The palette is mostly monochrome neutrals, though there were two flashes of color in the form of button-downs in teal and rust. How about handspun organic silk made in single batches in Japan, which is exclusive to The Row this year? The white and black knit dresses they made with that silk are a sexy, body-limning counterpoint to the relaxed shapes of much of the rest of the collection. There is news in accessories. A 105 mm French heel pump counts as The Row’s highest ever, and a new Massimo drawstring backpack comes in that raw silk, as well as leather and suede. Naturally, there’s no logo-ing or hardware in sight. Timeless, investment pieces that will serve and please for years to come.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.