Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mary-Kate, Ashley and The Row

They made the ‘bag lady’ popular and built a mini empire on the back of ‘Tweens’, but Ashley and Mary-Kate have officially grown up. Last week, London department store Harvey Nicols hosted the launch for their latest label ‘The Row’, a collection that would have left many of their former fans with raised eyebrows.

Sheer tops, suspenders and more than a hint of chest characterised the Olsen’s first ‘Row’ collection (named after London’s Savile Row), revealed first at a top-secret show in Paris earlier this year. With 29 stockists confirmed world-wide including 10 Corso Coma in Milan, Isetan in Tokyo and Nicols, it’s a step up from their previous Walmart label ‘mary-kateandashley’.

The official launch at Nicols revealed $1700 cashmere tuxedo jackets and a $3220 Tuscan lamb coat to the applause of Peaches Geldorf and Amy Winehouse. Inspired by androgynous black-and-white Helmut Lang photographs, it’s a big leap up from the Walmart isles.

Costume change. By Alicia Pyke.

Sometimes when I’m dressing, I like to imagine myself playing a role. Just as actors garb up for a particular part in a play, so I like to prepare for the day or night ahead in theme.

Usually it’s a pretty large leap of imagination but that’s exactly what makes it fun in the first place. So humour me if you will when I think I’m channelling a Rock Goddess, Sexy Secretary, French Poet or some other fashion muse.

Rock Goddess naturally involves jeans and killer heels to catch a band while French Poet might just mean wearing a beret, scarf and scuffed boots on a rainy day. Russian New Money meanwhile only surfaces in the middle of winter on an especially chilly evening when I can get away with wearing the Ginger & Smart black rabbit fur hat I once purchased on sale for $10.

Girl Detective likes to gad about in the same deluxe belted trench coat Sexy Secretary also ventures out in. But that’s where the wardrobe overlap ends. Did you ever hear of Nancy Drew sleuthing around in mesh-covered stilettos after all?

I also like to employ the same role play when shopping for swimwear. It’s one way to make this hideous process slightly more bearable. Hollywood Starlet chooses a belted one-piece never actually intended to get wet with a floppy wide-brim straw hat, giant sunnies and perhaps a sheer scarf for a cover up. Hippie Lovechild however favours a bright bikini with a fabulous printed caftan and jewelled flats.

Yes, they’re often ridiculous descriptions for relatively simple outfits but the names make me laugh. Especially when I decide to share my inspiration du jour with friends.

But fashion is fantasy and this is my way of importing a little runway into reality. So who do you imagine you’re channelling when it’s time to get dressed?

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