The setting — Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle — telegraphed more than a lovely way to start the morning, over tea and crumpets. It indicated a mood far removed from the trade-show aura of Lincoln Center. The intention, Ashley Olsen said postshow, was to keep The Row “intimate and as pretty and pure as possible.”
Mission accomplished and beautifully so, as Ashley and her designing partner, Mary-Kate Olsen, delivered a treatise on discreet chic, all the more impressive for its ample use of fur. While spring was ethereal, here the designers took a more grounded approach, starting with substantial, flat sandals. The tight lineup of neutral-toned coats, separates and dresses played like an elegant woman’s well-functioning wardrobe. Aside from some sturdy taffeta pants, shapes were lean but not fitted, the longer torso marked by tabs, wraps and various other treatments near the hips. Otherwise, interest came in details of cut and textural plays: alligator trim outlined a hammered cashmere coat; an interesting dress featured a long mink front panel attached to a chiffon bodice and cady skirt. For evening, the strapless, loosened black column made a convincing case for the power of plain.