The Row has always stood as a kind elusive, rarefied clique as oppose to a fashion label. A brand conceived to be felt – not seen – they have been the antithesis of their modern designer counterparts, who basically scream and shout from the social rooftops (Instagram and the like) with their flashy wares and trend-driven styles. Not The Row, they continue to peddle a kind of luxury that feels both seamless and easy, and most importantly timeless – a study of the classics.
When Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen transitioned from loveable child stars to fashion elite, many were circumspect and critical. Remember, these were the girls who shuffled around the streets of Manhattan in “hobo-boho” outfits, tatty hair and no shoes. Now 10 seasons in, they are pillars of the fashion establishment, continuing to charm a select few, those who deem pomp abstruse and favour the simple things – albeit an exhaustingly luxurious version of them.
Even their close relationship with art is evocative of this experiential approach to fashion; their boutiques and Instagram feed full of the works of Jean Luçat, John Chamberlain and Salvador Dali, an homage to the great artists who inspire them. Their Fall Winter 2020 show was another example of the brand’s patronage to the arts, as sculptures by American artist Beverly Pepper, who died just last week, illuminated the space. Amongst sculptural slabs of corten steel, stone and iron, girls in groups of three skimmed out in flat slippers and boots, hushed but hurried.
Unlike the overly inflated proportion of previous collections, the waist was highlighted; corduroy trousers nipped with simple black belts and cocoon coats tied loosely. Of course, size still matters for The Row – and always will – their love of capacious proportion realised in roomy wool coats, felt slacks and oversized shirts.
Perhaps most striking, however, was the exceptional suiting, which came layered and lofty and above all else, luxurious. An interesting interplay of ladylikeness and old world masculinity came to the fore; on the one hand, delicate cashmere gloves and tucked silk shirts, on the other, the kind of three-piece suits and waistcoats our grandfathers wore pre and post-war, although much more slouchy (as if they were two sizes too big).
The palette remained impeccably tonal and anchored in neutrals – black, sand, cream, camel and slate – while the only unexpected revelation came via a hooded turtleneck, which peered softly over the faces of Constance Jablonski and Carolyn Murphy in fine-knit wool.
Another example of The Row’s unfettered, understated and singularly stylish universe, they continue to make the most basic feel the most beautiful.