September 11, 2012 New York
Reference points for Spring apparently included the eighteenth-century Japanese artist Ito Jakuchu, the English countryside, and American folk. These were subtly handled. The focus, more so than ever, was soft tailoring: a loosely belted oversize trench, poet blouses with knotted silk buttons. There were also pants with fastenings on the waistband used to attach filmy drapes of silk, which looked like a half train. Boxy tanks or slipdresses worn over trousers made multiple appearances. For colors, the Olsens hewed mostly to silvery neutrals, which made both a red suit with a quiet floral motif and a navy long dress with pompom trimming on its short sleeves stand out. The accessories obsessives in the room clocked a new unstructured bag modeled after a garden tote and another flat bag that could be folded over and worn as a clutch.
"We want to keep challenging ourselves," Mary-Kate said after the presentation. Indeed, it's hard to believe that these are the same designers who built a brand on slouchy T-shirts and sexy leather leggings. This quietly accomplished collection was just about as far removed in ambition and mood from their origin story as can be.