Daily Archives: February 14, 2011

Ever since Coco Chanel it’s been a truism of female designers that they create for themselves: that their collections are inspired by what they feel is lacking in their wardrobe (men, it is said, design for some ideal in their own mind). Such is the case, anyway, with Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, the child-stars-turned-very-convincing-designers who have always said they got into fashion in search of the perfect t-shirt. (Like Victoria Beckham, their fashion line still gets talked about, for no good reason, with “gee whiz they can really do this!” surprise; really both the Olsens and Mrs Beckham should just be characterised as designers now, and, if need must, former actors/singers.)

Anyway, this “I’m-just-designing-for-my-needs” stuff can seem like a bit of a line the 200th time you hear a female designer spouting it, so I was kind of charmed today to see Ashley Olsen sneaking off by herself at the presentation of The Row, aka the brand created by herself and her sister. As Mary Kate and their communications team talked various editors and buyers through the excellent collection of cashmere “pajama” suits, knit mink jumpers, and tunic dresses, Ashley pulled a midnight blue devore velvet bathrobe dress off a hangar and started layering it over her clothes, checking herself out in the mirror. Then she saw me watching her and shrugged: “it’s one of my favourite things,” she said. Read more