It’s no secret if you check out my obsessions that I am officially a fan of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen (and not just because they are alumna, or rather un-graduated alumna of my alma mater). I know people have mixed reactions regarding the bohemian chic look that they made popular, but I always give them credit for wearing interesting and original looks. I grew up watching them on Full House like everyone else, and even ran into Ashley Olsen one time on the street back in my college days; I’m pretty amazed at how these teenage millionaires have created not only one, but two carefully created fashion lines (The Row and Elizabeth and James) and also a new, interesting coffee table book all about the creative process.
I first heard about Influence by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, while catching a DVR-ed episode of Oprah about young entrepreneurs and their dreams. While watching the episode, I was surprised to find that the twins were soft-spoken, introspective, and even refreshingly normal (even claiming that a usual breakfast for them was bagels with cream cheese)! The book is a collection of personal interviews that the twins conducted with personally admired artists, designers, writers and photographer icons, with people such as Margherita Missoni, Karl Lagerfeld, Bob Colacello, Lauren Hutton (the face of The Row), Robert Lee Morris, Richard Prince, Terry Richardson and many others.
The book is fascinating, not only because of the beautiful glossy photographs, but also because the twins avoid obvious cliché questions (no doubt from personal experience) and ask truly pensive queries to really get to know their interview subjects. The interviews are multiple pages in length, focusing on their subject’s history, background, creative process and personal interests. From reading the interviews, you can also tell that the twins are widely respected by their interview subjects, so that their interviewees answer the twins’ questions frankly and honestly. One of the most intriguing interviews was the one with fashion legend, Diane Von Furstenberg, who reveals that although she didn’t know what she wanted to be she “always knew the woman [she] wanted to be…[someone] who was independent, a woman who was in the driving seat, a woman who didn’t need for the man to decide.”
For those like me who are fans of the twins, the book also offers quite a bit of personal information in the book by candidly answering the Proust Questionnaire, which only further highlights that although they may be twins, they have distinctly different personalities (it appears that Mary Kate is the darker one.)
You can find the book at Amazon.com.