Just getting to Ginia Bellafante's piece on the Olsen twins: hooray, they are rife and relevant for more coverage because of their new book Influence (Razorbill.) The authors will sign books tomorrow, October 28 at Barnes & Noble, 33 E 17th St, between Broadway and Park, at 12:30 pm. Freak out or ignore this information, as you see fit.
The Y.A. title contains interviews with famous designers and friends, giving the author-twin-moguls both an opportunity to collect advice about how to approach their next phase as businesswomen while simultaneously providing an excuse to put out yet another blasted fancy fantasy product with their name on it. Query: who does it better, Disney or Dualstar? I'm not talking quantity, Disney has factories and cross-platform branding that Dualstar can't quite match, but still the two seem worthy of competition. If not now, soon.
Bellafante's piece offers up a platter of the sort of delectable quotes you don't normally get from Mary-Kate and Ashley, given their notorious anti-interview status. Plus, this sharp observation (do we buy the fact that Ashley hearts Great Expectations and Mary-Kate swoons for Walt Whitman?):
Although it is nearly impossible to imagine Paris Hilton citing Dickens, what most distinguishes the Olsens from their peers in the tabloids is a resistance to certain kinds of recklessness on the one hand and a decidedly less egomaniacal approach to branding on the other.
Most wondrous of all is the Times's
"Related" sidebar. You can reread the announcement of the
real estate purchase that marked the Olsens' start as NYU students, the story
MK's ashcan chic into the mainstream, and even go way, way, way back on the
Interwebs to 2001, when MK & A were just 14 and premiering their
Family sit-com So Little Time. Also noteworthy: their own
blog, which is kind of ridiculous -- most of the posts come from
someone called "The Mystery Blogger," (an underpaid minion?) although occassionally one of the
twins will chime in with a quick, personality-free blurb.
What's most striking to me isn't how quickly they've shape-shifted from fresh-faced child stars into beguiling, weird, wacky grown women. It's the fact that they have been working themselves as a brand for longer than many women nearly twice their age -- Anne Slowey, Rachel Zoe, Rachael Ray, holler? -- funny how they figured it out first (and perhaps best), which is how they're able to go from Wal-Mart to Madison Ave without blinking an eye. Dynamic duo, indeed. Oh: I will never forget the day I saw MK's byline in the Styles section, gushing about Chanel bags. Maybe she and Bono can co-author some Op-Ed columns in 2009. That should help the Gray Lady's numbers!
I do have to wonder, though, what kind of rigors Bellafante had to endure to interview both the twins -- they refuse to speak to press together -- and how noticeably different they are in their mannerisms. Bellfante calls Ashley the one who is more "entreupeneurial," which, I mean, c'mon: code-speak for the puppet-master who is truly running this elegant show behind the scenes?