Chatting with the Olsen Twins
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have long been revered for their bold fashion statements, so we were beyond excited when they launched their own label, Elizabeth and James, in 2007. Since its inception the line has grown to include jewelry, shoes and, now, menswear. Elizabeth and James is contemporary style at its best: Pieces have unexpected details that are both timeless and on-trend. We spoke with the twins—who were recently inducted into the CFDA—to gain insight into their creative process.
LOS ANGELES CONFIDENTIAL: What is the Elizabeth and James aesthetic?
ASHLEY OLSEN: Elizabeth and James is known for jackets with a great fit, whether it be the oversize, more masculine “James” or the fitted and feminine “Elizabeth.” Shirts, dresses and delicate chiffon blouses are signatures of the line as well.
LAC: How do you envision the women you dress?
AO: She’s a savvy working girl who has an active lifestyle and follows trends. Her wardrobe relies on wearable, fashion-forward items that can be styled from day to evening.
LAC: What inspired your Fall ’09 collection?
MARY-KATE OLSEN: Peter Pan’s Lost Boys and Oliver Twist. The collection continues the balance of masculine and feminine by playing with proportion and fit. Striped button-downs, delicate blouses and smart vests and blazers are staples. As the collection develops, we find the boys lost in Neverland are progressively more savage. Lord of the Flies, pirates and nature serve as additional references.
LAC: Describe your work dynamic.
M-KO: Ashley has a great eye for technical design and fit. I tend to focus on the conceptual themes and carry them out through fabrics, prints and small details.
LAC: How did working on your jewelry line with Robert Lee Morris and your footwear partnership with Steve Madden come to be?
AO: We’re fortunate to work with such talented partners. Robert Lee Morris has an endless wealth of knowledge and is a great mentor. [Through] the Steve Madden team, Mary-Kate and I have developed a process that allows our vision for Elizabeth and James footwear to be executed with quality, detail and style.
LAC: What inspires you?
M-KO: I’m inspired by art, music, travel and great vintage finds. Inspiration is everywhere.
AO: I love art and photography books. Inspiration can happen at any time, so the key is to be aware of everything around you. Elizabeth and James, Intermix, 110 Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, 310-860-0113; elizabethandjames.us
DAVE BENETT COURTESY OF SELFRIDGES & CO