As if Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen weren't busy enough, the twins are on to a new venture — the launch of Elizabeth and James, a contemporary sportswear line, ready for fall selling.
Named after the Olsens' younger sister, Elizabeth, and older brother, James, the line is the latest addition to the extensive portfolio of brands managed by the twins' 14-year-old company, the Culver City, Calif.-based Dualstar Entertainment Group. For the new brand, the Olsens teamed up with L'Koral Industries, a Vernon, Calif.-based firm owned by partners Peter Koral and Jane Siskin. Best known for their multilabel junior business and the creation of the Seven For All Mankind brand, as well as contemporary label LaRok, L'Koral expects volume in excess of $200 million this year.
The latest launch comes just after the debut of The Row, the Olsens' directly owned high-end line consisting of $655 floor-length Modal cardigans and more than 25 knitwear pieces, selling at Barneys New York nationwide and Maxfield in Los Angeles. In the fall, the duo will expand distribution of The Row's $3,220 Tuscan lamb fur coats, $875 banded strapless dresses and other items to specialty retailers including 10 Corso Como in Milan, Harvey Nichols in London and Isetan in Tokyo.
As The Row rolls out, the 20-year-old fraternal twins (21 in just 14 days) have turned their focus to the contemporary market. In true twin form, the sisters completed each other's sentences when describing the line in a telephone interview.
As far as inspiration for the collection, Mary-Kate, who shares the title of design consultant on Elizabeth and James with her sister, said, "We wanted it to be based on a relationship between a young girl and a boy and tell the story through the clothing."
"It's a clash between masculinity and femininity," Ashley added.
While they named the line in honor of their siblings, Ashley said they haven't put a face to the label. Still, the young woman they have in mind when they're designing is in her "early 20s, figuring out life and just experimenting," she said. "It's a sophisticated woman with a playful side and is still chic. It's someone who understands fashion and understands details and expects that as well."
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