THE ROW Launches Debut Handbag Line at BARNEYS NEW YORK

While we look forward to every new collection from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen‘s The Row, Fall 2011 promises to be particularly crave-worthy. Once again, the duo has gone above and beyond to track down materials that push the boundary of contemporary luxury: strips of mink are woven into cashmere knits, double-sided fox fur provides unprecedented coziness.

Most notably, the line is finally introducing its first line of handbags, which will debut this week at Barneys New York. Sleek and sophisticated, they blend old-world glamour with contemporary chic—a rare balance that has come to define The Row, season after season.

Below, we listen in as the designers interview one another about inspiration, collaboration, and raiding Picasso‘s wardrobe.

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Mary-Kate to Ashley

Mary-Kate Olsen: What is your favorite piece of clothing you’ve designed for The Row?

Ashley Olsen: I would have to say our first t-shirt. We have evolved so much since that first tee, but every collection is based on the same standards—luxurious fabrics, impeccable fit, and the highest level of quality.

MKO: What are the wardrobe staples you can’t live without?

AO: A great pair of vintage jeans, a tailored suit, a crisp white button down, Parisian stripes, and a great men’s watch.

MKO: If you could tap any designer to collaborate with The Row, who would it be?

AO: For Resort 2012, we collaborated with Ileana Makri on a small fine jewelry collection. It’s all about what feels right in the moment and what works with each collection. I cannot say who we will partner with next, but we feel it is important that we have a strong connection with the person, as is the case with Ileana, and that we have a passion for the product.

MKO: What’s the best fashion city: L.A.? New York? Paris? London? Tokyo?

AO: I don’t believe you can say any city is the best city for fashion. We started The Row in L.A., we are now based in New York, and we are about to open our first permanent showroom in Paris. We also have extremely important retail partners in London and Tokyo. They are all important fashion cities in their own right.

MKO: What’s the best fashion era of all time?

AO: There are important style contributions from almost every era. Drawing on the right references at the right time is the key.

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Ashley to Mary-Kate

AO: What are your favorite materials and textiles to work with?

MKO: I love furs and skins because the textures are so compelling. We push ourselves and our team to consider new ideas and techniques for incorporating them.

AO: Who are some of your favorite designers (past and present)?

MKO: John Galliano, Yohji Yamamoto. They have and continue to redefine fashion.

AO: Do you have a style philosophy? For whom do you dress?

MKO: I dress for me and usually whatever suits my mood.

AO: If you could raid any person’s wardrobe (alive or dead), who would it be?

MKO: Picasso.

AO: What current trend would you like to see disappear?

MKO: My problem is not with the trends themselves, but the fact that trends are constantly repeating themselves.

AO: Where do you go and what do you do to unwind?

MKO: I like to travel when I can, which isn’t often. Otherwise, I like to be at home in New York with friends.

- Tory Hoen

Shop The Row here.

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