Designers

Fashion Stars: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen totally own their style and, with their lower-priced bag line for Elizabeth and James, we can too.

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

“I think living in New York, it’s really nice to have a hands-free bag,” says Ashley Olsen of the Sling, a drawstring backpack from her and twin sister Mary-Kate’s new, tightly edited eight-piece bag collection—a first for Elizabeth and James, their secondary line, named after their younger siblings. The style was initially popularized when they produced it in alligator for The Row, selling it for $34,000. Elizabeth and James’s spotted calf-hair iteration costs a modest (in luxury bag terms) $560. Reason to rejoice for a certain style-hungry woman working in a field that requires polish and cool (er, me).

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

It’s rare enough for child stars to transition into adult stars, rarer to achieve that via a full-blown fashion empire, and rarer still by creating fashion we want. Mary-Kate and Ashley, now 27, had help with their sartorial ambitions from their billion-dollar fortune, amassed through both Full House and their multimedia company, Dualstar (which owns the rights to their teen-movie vehicles and fashion labels). But that would have meant nothing without their inimitable style—layers of silk, dark sunglasses, massive bags and ubiquitous venti Starbucks cups—recently given an added je ne sais quoi thanks to Mary-Kate’s relationship with Olivier Sarkozy, the 44-year-old half-brother of the former French president.

Rich colours and textures define the fall collection from Elizabeth and James

Rich colours and textures define the fall collection from Elizabeth and James

But this global awareness didn’t begin with MK’s Charles de Gaulle commutes. In fact, the sisters’ more accessible line was inspired by a 2006 visit to Canada. “We were doing MuchMusic and saw a bunch of kids our age [who] all looked similar to us,” recounts Ashley. “We could see them emulate the spirit that MK and I have— obviously we have a very eclectic sense of style.”

 

Elizabeth and James Bag Collection

Elizabeth and James Bag Collection

From left: Bag, $495, Hudson’s Bay; Bag, $560, neimanmarcus.com; Wallet, $295, Hudson’s Bay; Bag, $560, TNT, Toronto and Montreal.

Standards Council: While Ashley favours the Sling and Mary-Kate the Mini Cross-Body, the twins were of one mind when it came to selecting finishes for the debut Elizabeth and James bag collection. “We went with the best leather we could find,” says Ashley.

To see the Olsen twins’ 10 most influential fashion moments, click here.