Is it possible that The Row is secretly (or at least partially) a Parisian brand? Of course, it was born and rooted in New York. In her fall 18 review, Vogue Runway’s Sarah Mower raved about the “smart and subtle” garments, concluding that the collection was “very New York.”
But when arriving at The Row’s permanent residence in Paris, a 23 century hotel on the corner of Place Vendôme, there is a huge underground There is a full design studio. In the showrooms, the Paris-based critic began to reconsider the brand’s geographic, creative and spiritual identity.
While Paris Fashion Week was in full swing, The Row chose neither to run nor show. A selection of 18 spring looks appeared on mannequins, through a series of beautiful salons, dotted with designer furniture and naturalistic flower arrangements from Parisian galleries. No music; no music. A calm and dignified ambience suggests a truly cultivated Parisian sensibility.
The collection explained at launch that the expansion of the menswear line had produced pieces that overlapped with the womenswear offering. Can you spot the knee-length black leather trench coat that reappeared throughout the collection? A casual shirt with vintage stripes? Jeans that are subtly ripped at the knee, enhancing their appeal? Note also that the tailoring that is deliberately boxy and generous on a female figure is intentionally streamlined on a male figure.
While Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are absent, their presence makes for a sense of style in this coveted wardrobe: laid-back layering; intellectual silhouettes; As well as everyday looks that might be as basic as a button-down shirt and chinos. For every single item in the dressing room roster—check out the hand-embroidered slip dress worn over a gray T-shirt, or the pumps—the collection projected a casual confidence. The collection’s color palette is also particularly diverse, with key hues alternating with pastel hues—check out the bold red turtleneck dress and baby pink cashmere polo.
Given enough time to notice the nuances, one can appreciate why one gushes about the seemingly most common clothes. An outfit of field jacket, turquoise corduroy shirt, and jeans was erudite and everyday, as if it conveyed some mix of vintage inspiration and social studies. A leather-panelled trench coat is expertly assembled from within, while a suede cape wraps around the body in ne plus ultra of comfortable luxury. The new version of the iconic bag style is unapologetically roomy and as true to The Row as any logo.
We all know that Parisian style is indescribable and cannot be reduced to a single archetype. But studios here can absorb the local culture and benefit from proximity to manufacturers in France and Italy, where most collections are made. If a retail location that rivals stores in LA, NY and London gives The Row a true Parisian glamor then we’d agree by now that the brand has definitely perfected its je ne sais quoi