Plenty of designers collect vintage clothes, but few are as famous for it as The Row’s Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Consider their many Met Gala appearances over the years: the vintage Givenchy and Christian Dior they wore when the dress code called for Anglomania at 2011’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty show, or the vintage Chanel, Balmain and Dior Haute Couture they chose for the 2013 Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibition when everyone else was in studs and black leather.
A selection of vintage pieces curated by Mary-Kate and the equally obsessive Marie Blanchet, of Mon Vintage and (formerly) Vestiaire Collective fame, is now live on The Row’s e-commerce site. The 30-or-so pieces from Comme des Garçons, Martin Margiela, Chanel and other iconic names hail from the ’80s through 2010; a 1967 Madame Grès dress in silk jersey is an outlier. And the one-of-a-kind items are more or less reflective of the Olsens’ design aesthetic: they are minimal, mostly monochrome, and elegant.
“For sure there are certain designers that I have collected over the years, but in general the approach for this project was very straightforward with pieces of exceptional design that we think will fit into the universe that we are aiming to create at The Row,” Mary-Kate said via email. The sale has less to do with increasing interest in vintage and pre-owned clothes–sparked both by the climate change crisis and the pandemic—than it does with instinct. “At The Row,” Mary-Kate elaborated, “we have collaborated with several gallerists, architects, and designers over the years, selling furniture, art, objects, and jewellery. For us, it has always been part of our vision to sell our collections in ever-changing atmospheres, to consider each location as unique and to curate what we sell in each store to enhance the client experience.”
If Mary-Kate has her eye on any of the pieces in the sale for herself, she wasn’t saying. As a guess, we’d peg her as a Yohji Yamamoto girl, but she won’t be the only one eyeing a coat from the Japanese designer’s unforgettable spring 1999 wedding collection.
This story was originally published on British Vogue.