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The Row, the Olsen twins' luxury brand worn by Jonah Hill and Zoe Kravitz

Recent photos posted by celebrities suggest a comeback of the brand after a difficult year

The Row, the Olsen twins' luxury brand worn by Jonah Hill and Zoe Kravitz Recent photos posted by celebrities suggest a comeback of the brand after a difficult year

The Row is a brand that has acquired cult status in America in its fifteen years of life. To describe its entire aesthetic, perhaps just the anecdote that Barneys New York fashion director Marina Larroudé told The Cut last month: a wealthy customer once walked into the store and bought 30 brand turtlenecks for $30,000 for the simple reason that she wanted to have an escort that would last decades to come. Larroudè told the magazine: «If you’re a super-wealthy woman in New York? The way we go to Uniqlo — they go to The Row». A comparison that perfectly explains the charm of a brand that has quietly created an almost invincible formula of extreme opulence and absolute minimalism: cashmere and lace-up sweaters for men sold for 1400€, alligator leather clutch of 8000€, titanium sunglasses of 500€.

Over the years the brand has collected awards, critical praise and commercial success – and after overcoming a very turbulent year, as we will see later, something new is about to happen: yesterday Jonah Hill and Zoe Kravitz posted a photo together on their respective profiles, in total outfit of the brand and tagging The Row, Bella Hadid commented while Kendall Jenner responded by posting a streetstyle in which she in turn wore a total look of the brand. But to try to understand what's going on you have to consider some issues.

Why 2020 was a difficult year for The Row?

The brand founded in 2006 by the Olsen twins has always maintained a proverbial discretion that has contributed to its aura of sublime minimalistic elegance – even their stores and Instagram are spaces where curation is everything, among other things a Basquiat hangs in the New York boutique. This means that the brand's activities are also shrouded in a certain mystery. Last July, however, a source told WWD various details about the brand's internal life: in the summer of 2019 Barneys closed down, declaring bankruptcy and leaving $3.7 million in outstanding debts with the brand – an event that triggers a fugitive that began with the president, David Schulte, who also sued the Olsens for reasons that have not been revealed; The two design directors of the women's line, James Robinson and Anna Sophia Hövener, and the design director of the men's team, Paul Helbers, a veteran of Louis Vuitton and Maison Margiela, left in quick succession. What's more, one of the twins faced divorce and the brand had to apply for a $2.3 million loan to the US government and while WWD received rumors in July of halved staff, economic problems and even veiled allegations of poor diversity within the team, the NDA signed by the employees and the discretion of the two founders , became new CEOs and creative director along with CPO Fabrizio Fabbro, former vice president of Creative Operations at Burberry, held up the blow.

What makes The Row special?

Simply, the garments of The Row are built to be classics – relatives of Phoebe Philo's Celine, distant cousins of Daniel Lee's Bottega Veneta and grandchildren of Jil Sander and Margiela. There are two reasons for their charm: the first is the value of Made in USA, now made in Italy, which allowed Mary-Kate Olsen to closely monitor every step of the production; and the second is the value of discretion, the idea of an elegance that was born not to be noticed – a concept that has a huge appeal for the highest-ranking clientele, eager for a more whispered and less obvious luxury. The value of discretion and "reserved luxury" comes to the founding sisters from their own personal story, that is, from a merciful childhood and passed into the spotlight, between endless TV shows, movies, colorful make-up lines for girls and so on - a factor that makes the aesthetics of the brand strongly personal and sincere.

The fact that the Olsen twins are so deeply rooted in pop culture and that the need for discretion expressed by the brand derives from their personal experiences greatly increases the perceived value of a brand that, even just for production values and attention to detail, would already have become famous. Among other things, at its inception, The Row was considered just one of a thousand other, ephemeral brands created by a couple of celebrities and therefore was not immediately taken seriously until about 2011, when Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, who would later become creative director of Hermès, headed the brand's design department. A three-year watershed that, along with the work of former President Schulte, brought The Row to where it is now.

What about Jonah Hill?

Jonah Hill has become a style icon in recent years and, like many style icons, after a more colorful and showy period, he began courting the world of minimalism since about three years. The fact that Hill and Zoe Kravitz have worn and tagged the brand in surprise, in two home photos, followed by Kendall Jenner, and with a mysterious caption that suggests that they will be the new faces of the brand or that they will have some form of relationship with it indicates that, fifteen years after its foundation, the brand is ready to exit the ivory tower of the very high New York society and start , according to its own terms, a dialogue with the rest of the fashion world: a will expressed through an opening, at least theoretical, to the concept of discounts, previously abhorred, and the recent opening of its e-commerce – to the lacking of which WWD attributed some of the financial problems of the brand. Hill's presence also suggests a stronger revival of The Row's men's line, which was born three years ago but had less luck than the women's line. After all, now the brand can also afford to produce campaigns and expose itself more to the world (even commercially) without compromising its reputation for severity and extreme discretion. To quote the words said by Dani Michelle, Kendall Jenner's stylist, to Vogue in an article published yesterday:

«The Row is a club that has it all in one place, if they choose to let you in. In a time of funky, street, and vintage, it’s refreshing to be timeless, sophisticated, and minimal».