Damn, The Row gave slouch some grace. Unsurprising given the designers’ predilection for the silhouette. What are the Olsen’s known for if not their brand of frumpy elegance? More than 6 years into their design partnership, the sisters seem to have returned to their roots, turning desire into action. They started attracting attention cloaking their bodies in layers on the street and have managed to shape their line into a digestible reflection of that personal aesthetic. Their designs are charismatic and it’s safe to say their presence in the fashion world doesn’t have to be so tightly calculated anymore. The monastic slouchy knit overflowed in New York and London from Edun’s stunning use of texture to Jason Wu, Paul Smith and Rachel Comey.
The double-face cashmere used for the majority of the line looks good enough to touch, wrap, lie, and live everything in. The flow of the fabric is instantly obsessive and stands alone. Perhaps that’s why the “fur cashmere” stays simply cut and draped throughout, void of fastenings, little detail is needed. Beautiful accents show around the neck, cowels, broad square collars and lapels. Skirts fall loosely below the mid-calf with fabric in spades. Trapeze coats float away from torsos down to bunched wool socks on every ankle. The sheer scale of the pieces are striking and set a voluminous proportion for fall dress. The fringed blanket shawls are my personal heaven, their heft coming off as more graceful than blanketing. The looks don’t waver as they pass, the gargantuan cuts keep emerging as models appeared to glide rather than walk down the runway. The fabric alludes to the emphasis The Row has always placed on quality and finish. Their shoes are no exception, androgynous handmade exotic skin derbies. Luxury has very much come to represent them (the no doubt five-figure drawstring crocodile bucket tote in this collection serves as proof). In today’s rapid fashion world, this focus on the highest quality they can achieve sets them apart from quick-to-the-rack imitations.
It feels like effort was made to break the convention of runway conveyer belt femininity with RTW ‘14—the pieces certainly aren’t cut to be stereotypically feminine. The Olsens are taking their roles as image-makers seriously. Featuring 65-year-old model and beauty entrepreneur Linda Rodin in their lookbook implicitly implies the Olsen’s desire to see the line on a wider demographic. Though expected, the media stir around Rodin’s use in the campaign tells me more designers might consider including models who might help to de-stabilize so much of the youth-obsessed imagery synonymous in fashion.