Often copied, never replicated, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have proven to be fashion chameleons: from oversized bohemian bags with sunnies to sleek and sophisticated polished ensembles, the dynamic duo are constantly evolving. Initially famous for their childhood role as Michelle Tanner on Full House, the twins have proven to be resilient and remain relevant as style savvy New Yorkers and designers for lines Elizabeth & James and The Row. Known for mixing high-end and vintage pieces—and rocking a diversity of looks from glamorous to grunge—it is clear that the 2012 CFDA Womenswear Award winners have adopted distinctive styles that are all their own.
Check out our picks for five of the twins’ most daring and dramatic sartorial statements:
2005: As Mary-Kate (MK) and Ashley transitioned into their twenties the siblings seemed to come into their own, the girls ditched their cutsey image and developed eclectic individual styles. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala Ashley wore a short Oscar de la Renta dress; it’s apparent that from the early days, she typically donned a more feminine and classic aesthetic. Wearing a floor-length vintage frock and boho accessories, MK demonstrated just how much she’s always loved maxis (and layering bold jewellery, too.) Mary-Kate further distinguished herself from Ashley with her wavy auburn locks.
2009: The Olsen twins played up their individual style at the Museum of Modern Art Film Benefit: A Tribute to Tim Burton. Ashley was lady-like and demure in a flowy vintage frock and canary yellow Manolo Blahnik Hangisi heels. On the flip side, Mary-Kate looked every bit the edgy it girl she’d become, wearing a bold leopard coat and black brimmed hat accompanied by rich burgundy lips. We love how the girls simultaneously compliment one another (with matching Hermès bags) and contrast each other (Ashley looks uptown chic and MK downtown cool.)
2009: Love or hate Mary-Kate’s ‘Bag Lady Chic’ phase, featuring layers of slouchy and shredded clothing, the star proves she knows how to make a striking sartorial statement and the look became desirable for those looking to be drastic and different.
2011: Ashley has proven she knows how to look lovely in over-sized layers, donning signature large sunglasses and an even larger handbag. While the Olsen twins’ fashion tastes seem to be all over the board, their eclectic and ever-changing street style is as talked about as their glitzy red carpet gowns.
2011: They showcased the refined elegance of their brand The Row at the CFDA Awards. Ashley wore a powder blue dress and MK sported a cascading black skirt from their label; they coordinated their looks with matching minimalist handbags. Mary-Kate really upped the glamour quotient for the evening, wearing a sequins Chanel jacket, Cartier jewels and gold Louis Vuitton heels.
2013: At this year’s Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, the sisters looked regal in French haute couture. Ashley wore a vintage Dior dress with a delicate sheer overlay that moved beautifully as she cascaded down the red carpet. Mary-Kate opted for a more bohemian-influenced look, pairing a vintage Chanel gown with a fabulous fur-trimmed vintage Balmain jacket.