News
|13 Jun|4 mins

Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen Are Our Long-Term Style Icons

Charting our obsession, from then to now
Laura Collins
13 Jun
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Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have style in spades. They’re the duo whose wardrobes make us crazy jealous, and whose influential eye for fashion we wish we had. We don’t know what their secret is, but needless to say, whether they’re taking a phone call on the sidewalk outside their design studio in the West Village, attending a friend’s wedding in upstate New York, or fronting up to the MET Gala for a rare public appearance, they never put a fashionable foot wrong.

Having been in the spotlight since they were just 9 months old, we’ve come to see them as not just famous people, but friends (no? Just us?). This month, they’ll turn 32 and to celebrate, we’re charting some of their most iconic moments and looks.

They got their big break on family sitcom Full House, playing Michelle Tanner from 1987 to 1995. Originally billed as ‘Mary-Kate Ashley Olsen’ (because producers didn’t want the audience to know Michelle was played by twins), they quickly went on to steal the spotlight off-screen.

News
|13 Jun|4 mins

Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen Are Our Long-Term Style Icons

Charting our obsession, from then to now
Laura Collins
13 Jun
Share:

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have style in spades. They’re the duo whose wardrobes make us crazy jealous, and whose influential eye for fashion we wish we had. We don’t know what their secret is, but needless to say, whether they’re taking a phone call on the sidewalk outside their design studio in the West Village, attending a friend’s wedding in upstate New York, or fronting up to the MET Gala for a rare public appearance, they never put a fashionable foot wrong.

Having been in the spotlight since they were just 9 months old, we’ve come to see them as not just famous people, but friends (no? Just us?). This month, they’ll turn 32 and to celebrate, we’re charting some of their most iconic moments and looks.

They got their big break on family sitcom Full House, playing Michelle Tanner from 1987 to 1995. Originally billed as ‘Mary-Kate Ashley Olsen’ (because producers didn’t want the audience to know Michelle was played by twins), they quickly went on to steal the spotlight off-screen.

'Full House' cast portrait via Getty Images

Eventually, they started making their own movies. The biggest hit was It Takes Two, also starring Kirstie Alley and Steve Guttenberg, but raise ya hand if you’ve seen pretty much every other movie they sent straight to VHS (see: When In Rome, Passport To Paris, Billboard Dad, Winning London, Switching Goals, etc). Guilty, and proud of it.

By the time they were 10 years old, Mary-Kate and Ashley were millionaires (and apparently the youngest self-made millionaires in American history).

'It Takes Two' Westwood Premiere, 1995 via Getty Images

They fronted the cover of Vanity Fair in July 2003 with a bunch of other iconic teens. We still think it’s all-time. Around this time, they began making a name for themselves as literal style queens too, instead of just appearing on the red carpet in cute, matchy looks.

In 2004, they got their joint star on the Walk of Fame – the first twins to be recognised as such.

The following year, the really stepped up their style. They attended the MET Gala honouring Chanel, and seriously looked the part.

MET Costume Institute Gala Celebrating Chanel, 2005 via Getty Images

In the mid-noughties, Mary-Kate’s bag lady/hobo-chic aesthetic took off. Think lots of long layers, ripped jeans, huge handbags, scarves and oversized sunglasses. These days, we’d give the look a suspicious side-eye, but back then it was all we wanted to be. These days, you can still tell that MK is the more ‘hippie’-inspired of the duo, while Ashley goes for simple and classic pieces.

Though they more-or-less stopped acting by the time they turned 18 (Mary-Kate still dabbled in TV shows like Weeds and Beastly), the twins began attending New York University. Eventually, Mary-Kate dropped out to focus on her career and management of their production company, Dualstar Entertainment. Ashley followed soon after.

Ashley & Mary-Kate Olsen pose with designer Karl Lagerfeld, 2008 via Getty Images

When they launched luxury fashion line The Row in 2006, it was a tight, capsule collection centred around their quest to design the perfect t-shirt. As we now know, their fashion empire has expanded to include the more affordable label Elizabeth and James, and they’ve been awarded CFDA Womenswear Designers of the Year in both 2012 and 2015, and Accessories Designers of the Year in 2014 for their work on The Row.

Though they’re mostly out of the spotlight these days, we catch rare glimpses of them on gossip sites, and indulge our obsession through Instagram accounts like @olseninfluence and @mkastyle.

And as always, when they appeared at this year’s MET Gala, the resounding response was 👏👏👏. Long may these fashion queens reign.

Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen at the Met Gala, 2018 via Getty Images

Laura Collins
Writer
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