Mary-Kate and Ashley, a different look

Courtesy of LA Confidential Magazine, Sept 2009
Courtesy of LA Confidential Magazine, Sept 2009

They are multi-millionaires as a result of their ever-growing empire. In fact, for the past seven consecutive years they have been ranked on Forbes “The Celebrity 100 List.” With everything from self-branded cosmetics and clothes, to an extensive collection of movies, the two media moguls have been in the public eye since they were less than one year old. You may have heard of them: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

Despite the immense success that Olsen twins have had, within the past three to four years they have slipped off the radar—far from the prying eyes of the paparazzi.

Some wondered where they went, what they were doing and whom they were with. Of course, the public still searched for a glimpse of the two pint-size sisters. If you were so inclined, maybe you did some “research,” and thusly figured out that they both enrolled in New York University following their high school graduation and dropped out shortly thereafter. Mary-Kate in 2005 and Ashley in 2007.

Today, they can be seen running errands and attending the occasional benefit or party in Los Angeles and New York, wearing their much-critiqued attire. But what doesn’t meet the eye seems to be what is so spectacular about the Olsens—that is, if you are a slave to fashion.

I’m talking about their newest clothing line, Elizabeth and James (E&J), for which they are co-designers and muses. Named after their two siblings, Lizzie (Elizabeth) and Trent (James), the collection is composed of masculine basics with feminine qualities. Aimed at the everyday-chic customer (albeit wealthy), it takes plain pieces and adds a touch of couture. Take for example, a solid black sleeveless blouse—completely boring. Add a universally flattering cut, some pleats, an amazing amount of ruffles and bam! You have the epitome of E&J.

I describe the feeling of the line as uptown/downtown New Yorker chic with a British flair. Which translates into: lots of neutrals, a pop of color occasionally and the ever-sounderstated plaid number. It is undeniably ingenious and edgy. In my book, we call this “perfect.”

Oh, did I mention that E&J doesn’t just design women’s wear? They also grace the fashion-conscious world with their men’s line, jewelry and shoes, which carries the U.K.- NY theme throughout.

While browsing the online website of E&J, I couldn’t help but revel in awe at the Fall 2009 campaign advertisements. Each photograph was a much needed break from the overused, overdone, nine-foottall European model posing boorishly for the camera. Instead, there were a variety of beautiful, lively individuals: a slightly plump platinum blonde, a lithe fiery redhead, a more mature looking brunette man, a coifed fair-haired woman and two younger, olive-complexioned gentlemen.

Granted, they are all undoubtedly blessed with charming looks. But the juxtaposition of the dark railroad and clothing against the fresh, unfamiliar faces made me want to know more about Elizabeth and James.

Even though Mary-Kate and Ashley have been over publicized in the past, their recently developed fashion line has not been. For a designing house to be true, honest and original is rare; its garments cannot become mainstream in its desire to make money and achieve notoriety (sorry Christian Audigier). For the aforementioned Olsens, the determination to stay underpublicized is an advantage for E&J.

As the online website for the clothier states, “the collections are made unique… and [the] styles made effortless.” Let’s hope the company continues to build upon the former.