Monday, January 7, 2013

The day I met the Olsen twins

Happy 2013!!
Kicking off the new year with the story behind one of my fashion highlights of 2012.

It started with a text from my sister from another mister, Jean Bean, that simply read: "Can you interview the Olsen twins?" Just like that. Just like interviewing THOSE Michelle-Tanner-turned-mini-moguls is no big deal. 


For a hot second, I tried to roll like it was no big deal too...but my mom quickly called bullshit. She was MUY excited. On the morning of the interview, she sent me a crazed text, demanding I send her photos with the twins. Who knew she was an MKA super fangirl? Must be a mutual tiny people admiration society thing.


I'd be interviewing Mary Kate and Ashley before an unpublicized appearance at NM Beverly Hills for The Row, the high end label they created a few years ago. Instead of a trunk show, they typically do in-store appearances that are more one-on-one sessions with clients. I think the only thing more surreal than interviewing the Olsen twins for your bff-slash-editor would be to show up at Neiman Marcus and get styled by them in the middle of the store floor in front of God and everyone. Can you imagine?


I got to Neiman's early and was ushered into a green room/fur salon. Fitting, I thought, since the Olsen ladies unapologetically love 'em some fur. While I waited for them to arrive, I chatted up two women who work with the Olsens on The Row and one who works with them on all their ventures.  All three were lovely, articulate and self-effacing. Always impressed by ladies who surround themselves with awesome ladies – in life and work. Feel like there are too few of us who do ;)


When the twins finally arrived and we were introduced, I think I had an out of body experience. It was beyond ODD to see these larger-than-life-mythical-creatures I've seen for decades standing there in front of me, shaking my hand, looking just plain normal, unassuming and young.

I was super struck by how tiny they were. To say they are petite in person is an understatement. I somehow wasn't prepared for it and felt very protective of them in an I'm-tall-enough-to-be-your-mother way.

You can check out my entire interview with the Olsens here on NM Daily
but here are a few more tidbits:

  • They are both extremely soft spoken. To the point that I was worried my iPhone voice memo would not be audible even though I held it about a foot away from them.
  • Ashley has a very open, sparkly energy about her that draws you in. I know it sounds obnoxious  but she definitely has that "glow" people talk about when they meet magnetic, famous types.

    For examples, she zeroed in on me the moment we sat down and asked me if I was based in Dallas or LA. I told her LA because I only freelance for NM and work full-time for Twitter.
Her eyes widened and she asked me what I did for Twitter. I told her and she said it must be "super interesting" to work there, holding eye contact and seeming actually interested. I said it was...most days...that it's just another new brand seeing if it can make it for the long haul.

(Earlier, I had a very interesting exchange about how social media is redefining celebrity with one of the women who works for the twins. She told me that the twins aren't into social media for themselves ["very private people"], but their Stylemint and Olsenboye lines definitely leverage their fan base on social sites.)
  • While Ashley was super talkative throughout the 20 minute interview, Mary Kate took a while to warm up. Her answers were more clipped at first, guarded, cautious. Her whole energy was definitely more serious and wary. Must have been hard to grow up in such an intense spotlight. You likely either internalize it (i.e. that glow Ashley has) or you retreat from it. 
  • Both women were extremely thoughtful. I was impressed with how knowledgeable they were about the business side of The Row. They were also very focused on emphasizing how hard they work: that they are in the office every day, that the CFDA award for womenswear (they were the youngest winners ever) makes them want to work even harder. Love.


But my favorite exchange was this one – during which they finished each other's sentences and looked at each other affectionately the whole time:

Me: The two of you have worked together your entire lives. How has that working
relationship evolved over the past few years with The Row?

Ashley: I do feel lucky that I have a partner. You definitely feel like you have someone…

Mary Kate: To bounce ideas off of...

Ashley: Definitely. And we’re so used to working with one another that we always have the same ultimate goals and the same vision. It’s nice to have a sounding board...

Mary Kate: It’s also been really nice to be surrounded by the creative people and the business people we work with on The Row. I feel like we’ve grown together and challenge each other, challenge processes. We face problems together – good problems and bad problems – and get through them in the most educated way. A lot of that, I think, comes through communication and talking though situations to get to the best solution and end product.

As the interview wrapped up, some tea and coffee arrived. They waited for me to finish before they helped themselves. They also apologized for being tired, gesturing to their faces. I told them they sounded very articulate and that I didn't want to hear them complain about their faces. Told them to wait 'til they were 35 and then talk to me about looking tired. They laughed and I think I detected a hint of surprise/horror at my age. 

On the way out, I asked for a photo for my mom and they said of course, "anything for mom." I told them that she was apparently a big fan, that who knew they had a 63 year-old Guatemalan lady demographic. They laughed and said that was "great to hear."  Super lovely kittens. 


Super lovely opportunity thanks to my Trojan twin!


The Outfit
Elizabeth and James top
J Brand jeans
Club Monaco anorak

The Accessories
Chanel bag
Kate Spade heels
Dita sunglasses
Hautelook necklace and bracelet

The Grade

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The Commentary

What does one wear to meet street style stars extraordinaire turned designers when one is feeling LARGE from Thanksgiving and tragically unfashionable from working in tech? If you are me, you turn to your friend, the Internet, for inspiration. Checked out what the twins had been spotted in recently. Even found a photo of Ashley arriving at the airport the day of the interview looking travel classic chic. 


Thought about similar dark trousers. Or liquid leggings. All black, maybe a camel coat with Louboutin nude heels. But then thought Id look like the stalker I am and just decided to keep things casual. Threw together a look around the one Elizabeth and James top I own and did matching lips and spiky necklace.

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 Added the sparkly Dorothy shoes I've been living in this winter.

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Fine look for work at Twitter. Not so much at Neiman Marcus where everyone was dressed to the nines when I got there. Doh. Thankfully the twins weren't. Both were art-school chic in all black layers. Ashley was wearing sneakers. 


She had on this super cool The Row sweater with a faint sparkly palm tree print. Very subtle, very chic.   


Mary Kate was in skinny leather pants and flat boots.


Should have gone all black, always safe, always chic...
also should not have ruined the picture for my mom by looking blind. F. 


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