The Olsen twins shocked the fashion world when they created a line of womenswear that was full of masterfully crafted basics. Now Mary-Kate and Ashley are asking for yet another leap of faith with the launch of a menswear line under their high-end label The Row.
The debut autumn/winter ’09 collection includes a tightly edited consortium of pants, blazers, t-shirts, sweaters and coats. “The concept is the same as our women’s—basics that you could wear with designer [pieces],” says Ashley. The collection began with a close look at the twins’ personal list of best-dressed men—from Cary Grant to Brad Pitt—as well as by studying the cut and construction of men’s designers they admire. “It’s going to take a relatively educated man to understand the collection and appreciate the fabric and quality,” Ashley continues.
Special emphasis was put on the feel of the clothes, since that was the number one compliment the two got from men about their women’s line. All the fabrics come from Europe, and almost all of them have a cashmere component. Manufacturing takes place in the US, however, since the sisters support an American brand being made in America.
As can be expected for a collection that aims for understatement, the color palette is neutral, while patterns are limited to classics such as herringbone and plaid. And there’ll be more to come: a men’s line for their Elizabeth & James label is already finished, and leather goods are being considered as the next category to branch out into—for men of course.
—Christina von Messling