The personal-style icon and force behind two thriving fashion lines gives us a peek into her closet, and her life
Ashley Olsen is joining the ranks of the September cover girls with her appearance in Marie Claire. The accompanying photos are romantic and coquettish with Ashley posing in lacey tops, lingerie and plunging gowns. Olsen reminds me of a love-torn damsel in distress, perhaps residing in a huge castle with the huge doors, gilt mirrors and damask wallpaper that appears in her backdrop. The sultry makeup and loose wavy hair complement the look and begs the question, “Is this a little girl lost?”
Apparently she found her way in the crazy world of Hollywood and came out unscathed with an image untarnished as an elegant, young lady. Ashley tells Marie Claire the pressure of being a young star was intense and the scrutinies even more so: “That’s why I look at Britney, and I’m surprised I didn’t end up like her.” After a stint in rehab by sister Mary-Kate, Ashley has managed to stay on the straight and narrow and even she is surprised about that.
Ashley must have done something right! At 23, she is very much the master of her own fate, and an icon of defiant personal style. She’s all grown up and rather than focusing on TV and movies, is all about fashion. She has a very successful line Elizabeth & James, and is one of the only former child stars who can honestly say they escaped going through that inevitable rough patch!
Ashley and Mary-Kate collaborate closely on Elizabeth and James (named for their siblings), a line that commingles softness and toughness—for instance, slouchy boyfriend jackets and shirts with a flirty ruffle. The idea is to create “a tug-of-war in something with a masculine spirit and a feminine attitude,” says Neiman Marcus Fashion Director Ken Downing. “And they single-handedly brought the legging back into fashion.” The Row, meanwhile, speaks more to their desire for a closetful of what Ashley calls “high-end basics”: the perfect blazer, the just-so T-shirt, the cashmere sweater that sort of melts in your hands—with intriguing twists like a seam running up the back. “I just really wanted to make beautiful things,” she says. “An educated garment.”
“I think you’re either born with a sense of style or you’re not. Either you care or you don’t. And we”—she and Mary-Kate—”love fashion. When we were going to NYU, I think that was the first time we were aware of the power of our personal style. Not the power of it, but the result of it. Between the big sunglasses and the Starbucks cup and the big sweaters, the hobo-chic thing, we were more shocked than anything.”
“Mary-Kate and I are very aware of trends and style, but at the end of the day, we don’t even think twice about it. It’s just, What do I feel like wearing today, and how do I want to put it together?”