good things come in twins

Why the Olsens Are Terrific Designers, People

Barneys fashion director Julie Gilhart loves the Olsens. Bergdorf Goodman chief executive Jim Gold loves the Olsens. Women love the Olsens, and they may mostly consist of 35- to 60-year-olds, who Ashley Olsen says comprise a majority of The Row’s customers. That might just be because of earning power: A little black dress by the label can easily cost $1,000 or more. But in all honesty, if we had $1,700 to spend on one article of clothing (which we don’t), we would consider spending it on The Row’s leather leggings, because they are buttery soft, ass-shaping, trendy-but-not-too-trendy amazingness that look fierce with a loose-fitting top and the right jewelry. Gilhart calls The Row “perfect.” Gold explains, “I think the way to think about The Row is that it offers the perfect blank — the perfect schoolboy blazer, the perfect leather leggings, the perfect peacoat. So many designers are intent on the next great trend that some of the basics are neglected.” For those reasons, sales of The Row are expected to increase 30 percent this year. Department stores — even Barneys — never put the line on sale, and it still sells. For celebrity twins who built a veritable empire off lines of Wal-Mart merchandise, that’s quite impressive.

New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn also loves the Olsens. Mostly because they’re like normal people with offices in the garment district who design clothes.

I was strangely pleased to discover that their two-room production office on W. 39th looked like a storage closet, it’s so crammed full of scuffed furniture, sketches, dress racks and plastic-sheathed bolts of fabric. And, actually, that’s how a lot of small Seventh Avenue companies have always looked.

She also loves them because, let’s face it, two of something is always better than one of something.

Very few celebrities are either so fascinating or appalling that they manage to get under our skins, as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have, and it may be because they are twins.

And finally, she loves them because they keep a very special plant in the office.

“It’s fake,” Ashley said.

Her sister, the dreamier of the two, looked at the artificial greenery and said in a tone of rising lightness, “The table fell over the other day and the pot didn’t break and I was so mortified and impressed.”

Funny. That’s pretty much how we feel about discovering how fabulous clothes designed by the Tanner twins can be.

Good Things Do Come in Pairs [NYT]
Fifth Avenue to Tokyo [On the Runway/NYT]

Why the Olsens Are Terrific Designers, People