The Row Ready-to-Wear Fall 2019

So, what do you want from fashion right now? A scream or a whisper? That choice is shaping up to be the definition of the New York Fall 2019 shows, which have been either—Britishism coming up here; apologies, folks—all gong and no dinner (translation for this side of the pond: a whole lot of noise, but nothing in the way of sustenance) or, far rarer, a quiet treatise on the craft and techniques of making clothes that might feel relevant to today. (If you’ve been following Vogue Runway the past few days, I am sure you can fill in the names on both sides of the divide yourself, but it’s been heartening to see that the latter approach has been taken up by a few of the city’s newer, younger, indie names.)

That brings us to The Row, Mary-Kate and Ashley’s ode to the kind of volume, noise or otherwise, that can be created by the quietude of their absolutely exquisite (and impeccably rendered) clothes. The Row isn’t new, of course—in fact, it’s practically a major establishment these days, what with the continuing reordering-decimation-delete as applicable to New York City’s fashion landscape—but boy, do the Olsens know their way around orchestrating fabric, cut, and finish into a virtual symphony of sighs, something ably demonstrated by this terrific collection. Even the show’s soundtrack, Castano’s “Specta (Deepfunk Remix),” couldn’t obscure them. (Just as it has been impossible to ignore the influence The Row has been exerting across so many labels at so many different levels; these days, considered minimalism comes at every price point.)

For the Olsens, fall starts and ends in the middle—specifically, their new waist-focused silhouette, which threw into relief their continuing love of all-enveloping, blown-up volumes. Out came a series of coats and elongated jackets, mostly denuded of any detailing, which were gently inflated before nipping inward to the center then flaring out again, worn over diaphanous cowl-neck blouses and wide, tailored pants, which grazed the floor. Check out the standout version of this in curvaceous black, worn by Caroline Trentini, for further reference, though honorary shout-outs go to the strict gray coat over matching pants and another black coat-and-pants combo, this one etched with a gazillion black beads.

At times, the look was accessorized with a substantial rubber-soled riding-Wellington boot hybrid, other times, a curious and weirdly chic little stocking slipper. Essentially a naked shoe, it certainly amplified the level of concealment offered by the clothes it was worn with. Plus, it served to underscore the strength to be had from walking softly and carrying a big coat next season.