Plenty are unaware that the Olsen Twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley, since participating less in the entertainment aspects of their careers, are also respected designers of fashion. Yes. Respected designers of high fashion. Their label The Row was inaugurated in 2006, followed by the slightly more casual line, Elizabeth and James (named after their siblings. Elizabeth is currently an actress) the next year.
For ten years, The Row has been surprisingly praised. Despite their enormous fame and ties to early ’90s popular culture, the Olsens squarely focus on clean lines, neutral palettes, and a heightened sense of casual dressy styling. In 2012, the twins were awarded Womenswear Designers of the Year at the Council of Fashion Designers of America (commonly known as the CFDA).
That same year, The Row made even bigger fashion headlines when they released twelve versions of a $55,000 crocodile leather backpack with enamel pin embellishments of pharmaceutical pills. As a collaboration with artist Damien Hirst, the backpack succeeded The Row’s 2011 $13,000 backpack of the same design, minus any Rx references. And if you can believe it, the original backpack did eventually sell out.
This month, The Row finally opened their first New York City flagship on the Upper East Side. It’s located at 17 East 71st Street.
Similar to the decor and setting of fellow designer shops in the area like Ralph Lauren (his flagships are literally housed within mini-mansions on Madison Avenue) and Chloe, The Row is a townhouse and is pristine.
A majority of the merchandise, that ranged from smooth velvet accessories to perfect for fall overcoats, were defined by color schemes such as cranberry to gray. Despite the minimalism and sparseness of the three-floor store, it was clear that a lot of thought went into the displays and the aura isn’t cold. There are even real artworks by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat on the walls, open to viewing in the shoe section and on the third floor.
“It was really important for us that when you walk into the store it wasn’t about clothes being shoved in your face. It was about the experience of walking in, taking in the space, being able to slowly introduce yourself to sweaters and slippers, or maybe a handbag, have an open area for shoes so you can relax, come upstairs, walk through the collections in a space that’s calm.” -Ashley Olsen to VOGUE.com
VOGUE.com uncovered that also inside the store are the prestigious talents and brands of Carlo Bugatti, Frank Lloyd Wright, Jean Royere, and Masa Takayama. The Olsens co-interior decorated with Jacques Grange.
Because the store is brand new, it seemed that the staff allowed pictures for the occasion. I snapped as I went along from bookcases with accessories, closets, and the swirling staircase.
When I mentioned cranberry as a color about a paragraph ago, it was because of this coat right here.
This fitting room may be the most prettiest, cleanest, most home away from home place to try on exquisite slacks.
Stop by The Row if you’re interested anytime you’re on the UES.