Mention the Olsen twins and everyone has something to say even if it’s a deeply over-exaggerated eyeroll. It’s true that “Full House” wasn’t exactly Shakespeare in the Park but it’s the success they’ve carefully built off-screen that lands Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in my moxie file.
Last month’s issue of Vogue voted the Olsens “Best Dressed Sisters” of 2011 beating out such dynamic duos as Kate Middleton & Pippa, Beyonce & Solange and Elle & Dakota Fanning. While the twins’ movie careers might have flopped, their venture into the fashion world certainly has not. The far reaching range of the Olsen’s trendsetting is an impressive display of their fashion finesse and their personal style.
Love it or loathe it, the Olsen twins are credited with creating the style called “boho chic” known by its telltale combo of UGGS boots, over-sized sweaters, giant sunglasses and flowy skirts. The fact that this look has remained popular for over a decade with everyone from celebs out for a latte to yoga moms is an impressive display of their ability to tap into high demand fashion trends.
But what’s really positioning the Olsens into the role of serious fashion contenders are their two successful high-end clothing labels: The Row and Elizabeth & James. Elizabeth & James caters to a younger crowd while The Row is a more sophisticated luxury label.
The Row is gaining a lot of clout in the fashionsphere and even nabbed a prestigious CFDA Award nomination for best women’s wear, an honor usually reserved for fashion royalty such as Marc Jacobs and Diane VonFurstenberg. Vogue described The Row’s Fall 2011 collection as “ineffable cool and elegance and agelessness”.
Even in these times of tight purse strings, the Olsens have continued to create a line of high end success. Their $39,000 alligator backpack recently sold out with production unable to keep up with demand. Yeah, I said $39,000.
Mary-Kate and Ashley are not consistently golden. They take risks which sometimes don’t pan out like when they earned a prized spot on MTV’s “Worst Dressed of the Decade” list. Mary-Kate also made it onto fashion critic Norman Blackwell’s worst dressed list with the added description of looking like “a tattered toothpick trapped in a hurricane”. Harsh yet unphased, the Olsen twins have a steadfast confidence in what they love to do and keep the focus on their passion even it means making controversial choices and landing on PETA’s most wanted list.
Perhaps it’s because of their tiny five foot stature or too many years as a sidekick to John Stamos but all too often the Olsen twins are written off as questionable child actors passed their glory days. While the truth is they are super savvy business women (Forbes ranked them, collectively, as the eleventh-richest women in the world in 2007) with some serious creative talent and enough moxie to experiment with design on one of the most unforgiving of runways, the public eye. Not to mention, they are only 25 years old.