NEW YORK (AP) — A frigid, brutal wind was whipping off the nearby Hudson River as one approached the unassuming building in Manhattan's West Village where Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen base their high-end fashion label, The Row.
Inside, though, waiters were offering cups of hot tea to the select crowd who'd been invited to inspect the sisters' fall 2014 collection on Monday. And luckily, the clothes were warm and inviting, too.
The display, in a quiet room carpeted in white, began with huge, thick sweaters, in luxurious "fur cashmere." One of them, particularly apt for the weather, had a huge oversized neck that one imagined sinking into. One coat had a collar that covered half the face.
There were jackets of various lengths, some tailored and others extremely loose. There were poncho-like garments in felt cashmere, and turtlenecks of cashmere silk. And there were capes, one in wool, and a lighter, shinier one in in bonded silk satin.
In keeping with The Row's minimalist style, almost all the ensembles were in a single color: Gray, black or white, with a few items in a rust color. Although the emphasis was on jackets, sweaters and pants, a few delicate dresses added a lighter element.
Note to other designers: The Olsen sisters are being kind to women's feet. Their models wore men's-style derby shoes, and at least one observer was heard to remark upon leaving, "I want those shoes now!" (Probably to get to the next fashion show, which was likely miles away.)
Mary-Kate Olsen explained after the show that she and her sister formulated their collection by focusing on shapes. "We worked with rectangles, circles, lines — it was all about the shapes this season," she said. "And the techniques. We used similar fabrics as in the past, but we treated them differently."
The Olsens, childhood TV stars, have serious cred in the fashion world: They are winners of the 2012 Council of Fashion Designers of America award as the top womenswear designers.