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Designers of the Month: April 2010: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

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Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen hit the red carpet at Elle Style Awards 2010.
Ashley (left) in a vintage Christian Lacroix gown and fun Fendi platforms.
Mary-Kate (right) in a classic black Lanvin creation along with Bulgari jewels.
The twins grabbed the “Style Icon” award for their individual fashion personalities.

They are fraternal twins but prefer the term “individual pair,” and have been famous their entire lives. Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Fuller Olsen are American actresses, best known for playing the role of Michelle Tanner on the sitcom Full House, both appearing in television and films since infancy. It didn’t take long for Mary-Kate and Ashley’s parents to realize that their two daughters were a gold mine in the making, leading them to co-found Dualstar Entertainment Group, a business with the singular goal of leveraging the popularity of these two live dolls. Before long, the Olsen’s were doing mega business by heavily merchandising their image, with their likeness seen in clothes, books, fragrances, fashion dolls, magazines, movies and posters.

Since then, their lives have become so much more sophisticated and complicated than their products. At age 24, this duo is focusing on their interest in fashion choices, launching their own couture fashion label “The Row” named after famous Savile Row in London and a new line for the The Row, entitled “Elizabeth and James“, named after their siblings. The Row consists mainly of expensive knit T-shirts with elegant french seams, and a few separates, like an oversize luscious fur coat, a perfect-cut blazer and a tight miniskirt. The line’s palette includes: black, white, cream, gray, and a occasional shot of red, maintaining a simultaneous desire to be both hidden and noticed just like the image maintained by these two designers. Designing for Elizabeth and James the twins turned their focus to the contemporary market basing this line on a relationship between a young girl and boy, telling the story through the clothing. There are washed leather jackets, pencil skirts, cashmere sweaters, chunky knit jackets, silk and sequin mini dresses, oversize fur jackets, and cashmere coats. The result is a more affordable contemporary collection that is play on masculine verses feminine and casual versus dressy.

Mary-Kate and Ashley also have a line of tween-wear in Wal-Mart stores across North America for girls ages 4-14, as well as a beauty line called “Mary-Kate and Ashley: Real fashion for real girls.” Most recently they’ve taken us back to their roots with Olsenboye, their new collection of all-American wholesomeness, sold exclusively at JC Penney. The specific inspiration for Olsenboye is that every season brings the duo to a new city. This spring centers around New York City, home to NYU and a Starbucks on every corner. Wonder what cities will be up next? Maybe San Francisco inspired by Full House..we’ll just have to wait and see.

No matter what this “individual pair” designs we can already see they’ve thought of everyone in their creations, realizing we are at a time when shoppers pay more attention to trends than brands by mixing bargain purchases from fast-fashion retailers with contemporary and designer labels, trying to create their best look at an affordable price.

From Wal-Mart to runway worthy the Olsen twins have cool all sewn up!

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