Ashley Olsen admitted she was quite nervous when New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn came to visit her design studio to profile her and her sister. She was worried about how the plainspoken writer would portray her. “You never know. You never know with an interview,” Olsen said at the Matthew Williamson–hosted launch party for Belvedere Pink Grapefruit last night. But she gave us an interview anyway. We noted that her lines are among the few from the celebrity world praised for their sophistication. “We’ve never come at it from a celebrity perspective. It’s been about the design,” Ashley said. In fact, she added, the twins have tried to downplay their celebrity status from the start of the venture. “We almost tried to find a front person for a while, so we could just kind of be behind it, but it’s worked out.”
Their contemporary line Elizabeth and James already includes women’s and men’s collections as well as jewelry and shoes. Sunglasses are launching next, and Ashley says bags will follow. “It’s really getting to the point where it’s becoming a lifestyle brand,” she said, adding that they’d love to branch out into home furnishings down the road.
Olsenboye just launched this spring at JCPenney, and while they’re slowly trying to define their customer, the twins expect to expand the product line. “Hopefully we’ll be able to create a lifestyle brand through Olsenboye; those things would come with that in time.”
Ashley has completely given up show business for now. “I kind of stopped when I was 17, 18, when I moved to New York for college,” she said. “I was still auditioning for some things and reading scripts, but I don’t know, I just wanted to focus on one thing 100 percent, and so I chose the fashion industry.”