ELLE (UK) - - Elle Voice - byBIBBYSOWRAY

It’s fit­ting that The Row has be­come a by­word for workwear. By the age of 18, twin sis­ters Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen had thriv­ing act­ing ca­reers, hav­ing starred in the Amer­i­can com­edy Full House since they were nine months old. They launched their first cloth­ing line at the age of 12, and spent their teens wear­ing cut-to-size Chanel and Marc Ja­cobs for their sit­com So Lit­tle Time. While most of us were plan­ning gap years, they were tak­ing con­trol of Dual­star, the multi-mil­lion-dol­lar com­pany they founded when they were just six, to han­dle mul­ti­ple mer­chan­dise lines and di­rect-to-video films loved by tweens the world over. As such, they spent their for­ma­tive years sur­rounded by women in the up­per ech­e­lons of busi­ness, while be­com­ing ground-break­ing busi­ness­women them­selves. They may lack for­mal de­sign train­ing, but they have enough hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence to put many of their qual­i­fied con­tem­po­raries to shame. Proof? They were the sec­ond-most-Googled fash­ion de­sign­ers of 2016.

Named af­ter Lon­don’s Sav­ile Row, The Row be­gan life as a quest to de­sign the per­fect T-shirt. That snow­balled into a seven-piece col­lec­tion that in­cluded stretch-leather leg­gings and a cash­mere-wool tank dress; plush ver­sions of ba­sic pieces that could be added to any out­fit for a sense of low-key luxe. Now, it’s the go-to for re­fined el­e­gance. Tai­lor­ing is key, and there are no look-at-me de­tails or eye-catch­ing em­bel­lish­ments; these are quiet clothes that speak vol­umes.

It’s a new type of power dress­ing, a type that aims to nour­ish the wearer’s re­quire­ments, as op­posed to meet­ing the per­ceived re­quire­ments of the out­side world. ‘We want our clients to feel com­fort­able and con­fi­dent in any cir­cum­stance, so we al­ways ques­tion what that is and keep that in mind,’ says Ashley from The Row’s New York stu­dio. ‘The au­tumn col­lec­tion wasn’t about work wear, or fem­i­nism, or power dress­ing. The idea of strong and fine tai­lor­ing has al­ways been a part of The Row’s DNA.’

But don’t get them wrong, they’re not eschew­ing the wave of ac­tivism that swept the AW17 cat­walks. Rather, they sup­port it in their con­sis­tency. ‘Every­one copes with to­day’s world dif­fer­ently,’ says Mary-Kate. ‘Power dress­ing may have been pop­u­larised in the Eight­ies, but women were work­ing long and hard be­fore then – and dressed the part.’

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