“I think the space really says it all,” said Mary-Kate Olsen, and little else, preferring to let The Row’s show venue, the Seagram Building, and the clear-sky view from an empty space on its 35th floor, do the talking. Mies van der Rohe would have approved.
Aesthetically the collection was as succinct as the architect’s famous design philosophy — less is more, God is in the details and so forth. There was no decorative fat to trim on these clothes, extreme in their luxurious simplicity and Zen-like expression of corporate power. Clean, unstructured jackets and plain black blazers and trousers registered purpose and practicality; the oversize gray ribbed sweaters and loose white tailored pants were elegantly comfortable. An Eastern influence pervaded an angular caramel crocodile kimono top and ivory silk wrap robe. Worn over easy trousers with suede slide slippers, many of the looks approximated a uniform fit for a day at a high-end Spa Castle.
Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen have become increasingly purist, with this collection even more pared down than the austere calm of spring. The clothes were beautiful but a bit barren, the whimsical details subdued. One of the most overtly imaginative touches was the hand-embroidered handle of a small duffel bag. Van der Rohe described his buildings as “skin and bones,” but sometimes the flavor is in the fat.