California surf references from the ’60s and ’70s were Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen’s starting points for Pre-Fall. A 1966 photo by LeRoy Grannis, aka “the godfather of surfphotography,” turned up on their Instagram feed this morning. But this being The Row we’re talking about, what we saw was not a collection of tropical prints, board shorts, and bikinis. The surfing references were subtle: zip closures, zigzag stitching of the kind you find on wet suits, fabrics backed with scuba neoprene. Otherwise, it was very much in keeping with the sisters’ previous work: American sportswear as pared back as it is luxurious—austere and graceful in equal measure.
Pointing out that Pre-Fall will mark the one-year anniversary of their L.A. shop, Ashley said, “Our last Pre-Fall was dark and heavy, and it was 110 degrees when we opened the store. This season, it was important for us to explore weight and color in the right way.” Enter a collarless linen coat, an almost buoyant sleeveless suede dress, a rackful of tissue-thin knits, and sheared furs almost as light. And, yes, colors, but of a muted variety. The paprika orange and olive green on a pair of tunic and trouser sets looked sunbaked. Those high-waisted paprika pants and a lilac mock turtleneck made a particularly striking combination; the Olsens should continue to explore this new direction. Another good idea: the slide sandals with beaded and sequined straps (handmade by a nonagenarian granny, apparently) that accompanied every look. If they manage to get them into production, they’ll be a sellout.
—Nicole Phelps, Style.com