The Boho Olsen twins, Ashley and Mary-Kate, presented their own unique take on de luxe minimalism.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the 23-year-old twins of fashion, are, despite a net worth estimated at $100 million by Forbes Magazine, making them the 11th richest women in entertainment, renowned for their boho image, often called the "ash-can" look or "homeless" chic.
So it comes as something of a surprise to find their aurtumn/winter 2010/2011 collection is a study in understated minimalism, albeit with an overtone of the "Twilight” goth.
The collection, just 19 immaculate pieces, was small, but perfectly-formed, and shown on the bare, wooden boards of an atmospheric, first floor, in an old warehouse, decorated only with an antique chandelier and an arrangement of white flowers.
The young British star, Carey Mulligan, who is a fan of The Row, was a surprise front row guest.
The collection, inspired by the German artist, Beatrix Ost, was made almost entirely in black silk, leather and cashmere, leavened with dark navy python skin, cream, and the occasional, narrow brown belt, the collection focused on ankle-length, flowing skirts and easy, straight-leg trousers, sometimes knotted at the waist, in black silk crepe de chine, paired with straight-cut tops in the same fabric.
Under-layers, in sheer black silk chiffon, were visible beneath the three-quarter sleeves and at the waist.
Loose, ankle-length dresses were equally simple, but given waist emphasis with a taut, boned, strapless corset, cinched-in on top. Wrap-coats, in black cashmere, were collarless and devoid of any extraneous detail which would divert the eye from the casual luxury of the cut and the fabric, and were fastened with a slim, brown, leather belt, tied, not buckled.
The most curious feature was the fact all 19 models wore identical, thonged, flat, leather sandals. It was snowing outside and this was, after all, a winter collection! Where were the shoes, the boots?
“Let’s just say delivery problems,” a laughing Ashley Olsen confessed backstage.
The twins – virtually identical, although they prefer to be called an "individual pair" – have been a fixture of American popular culture since they were babies of six months, and began appearing in the television series, Full House.
They began merchandising their image, with a company called Dualstar, in 1993, and their brand has been sold in more than 3,000 stores in the US and over 5,000 worldwide. They are hugely popular with the pre-teen and teen market.
The Row, which they launched quietly several years ago, is named for their fascination with Savile Row and their quest to achieve the most perfect, simplistic, effortless fit.
It is their bid to tap into a more sophisticated customer. They are obviously succeeding; Harvey Nichols, which launched the collection in London, has had an extraordinary success, particularly with statement pieces such as their stretch leather leggings, which became a cult.
Averyl Oates, Harvey Nichols’ fashion buying director, describes The Row as “understated but powerful fashion. These are investment pieces and there is a lot of personal involvement by the girls.”