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The Olsen twins banned social media at The Row show

Good old "You can't sit with us"

The Olsen twins banned social media at The Row show  Good old You can't sit with us

They have realized the first Birkin-post-Birkin and now they ban phones at their show. They have built crucial moments in the history of American pop culture, and now they disown it. Their brand is on everyone's lips in the last hours, but in nobody's image gallery. Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen have managed to stir controversy on High Fashion Twitter without even sharing the looks of the new collection, simply inviting the audience to enjoy the runway without smartphones: «The Row is looking forward to hosting you at the Winter 2024 presentation on Wednesday, February 28th at 12:00. We kindly ask you to refrain from capturing or sharing any content during your experience.» At yesterday morning's show, guests were provided with a notebook to jot down their comments, reminiscent of the '90s. On the imageless Instagram profile, StyleNotCom documents that the presentation included a khaki trench, ladylike silhouettes, dad sneakers, and turbans, while coffee and madeleines were served at the end of the show. A new way of luxury that excludes those who actually cannot afford The Row's clothes, the Olsen twins' decision to make the brand even more incognito takes several steps back in the democratization of fashion. Some appreciated the idea, acknowledging that for an already impenetrable brand, online fame doesn't matter, while others lament the designers' snobbery.

Vanessa Friedman, fashion editor of The New York Times present at The Row's show, wrote on X that the designers' request frustrated her. «I don't believe that taking photos interferes with my ability to fully consider what I'm seeing. And I believe I'm old enough to decide that for myself.» While on one hand, the invitation (which was essentially an obligation) to abandon phones bestowed a rare preciousness upon the show, in an era where Wi-Fi connection and views suppress every human emotion, on the other hand, separating the social audience from what happens at Fashion Week seems like an anachronistic imposition. Especially since, as Friedman's disappointment emphasizes, the insiders present at the show were there for work, not for pleasure, so their phone use was more of a necessity than a vice. On the same train of thought, it could be argued that just as guests at a fashion show should have the freedom to choose, designers can afford to request discretion regarding their work.

What seems to have truly sparked controversy regarding The Row's "old-fashioned" show is more about what happened before. As we recall, in recent months, the brand has experienced growing popularity: with the rise of quiet luxury, celebrities and pop stars have succumbed to the allure of understated, timeless looks, like Jennifer Lawrence, who last fall was photographed in head-to-toe The Row on the streets of New York to promote the release of her new film. Simultaneously, there has been a surge in men's bags, especially expensive ones, so it-boys whose style is admired and copied far and wide like Jacob Elordi and Harry Styles have been seen sporting the Margaux, the tote bag priced at over 7,000 euros that was crowned "the next Birkin". Throughout 2023, all these clues fueled a "pop" representation of The Row, with the final coronation by Lyst positioning the Margaux as the hottest product of the last quarter of the year. After capitalizing on the TikTok-ability of quiet luxury, now luxury wants to return to being "quiet", but in the world of social media, you can't exactly throw the stone and hide the hand: once a message takes off on the For You page, it becomes difficult to rein it in.

The Olsen twins' request not to post the looks of the new collection online could be the perfect counterattack to the wave of popularity their brand has received in the last year. After all, they weren't the ones behind the resurgence of quiet luxury among the new generations, just as they didn't force Elordi or Styles to go grocery shopping with a Margaux on their arm. Unless it's a true case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, we know well that The Row designers don't like to be in the public eye, with very few appearances in front rows and even fewer in the pages and websites of fashion magazines. Taking control of the narrative of their product, designed for those who can buy a 5,000 euro coat without their heart or wallet skipping a beat, ultimately isn't so unfair. For those who don't have the privilege of shopping from America's most elegant twins, there will always be paparazzi and Jennifer Lawrence, even if it means waiting until next fall.