Influence (Anglais) Relié – 23 octobre 2008
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On the one hand this book contains some good insight into scions of the fashion world, but on the other hand it is yet another example of the efficient and admirable marketing machine that is the Olsen twins... yet it has very little of any substance that is built on their abilities or talent, and you start to wonder if they have any, other than the fact that they were born twins and cute. Without question they know how to market themselves and their product, and for that you have to admire them and their success, but when they stand next to the subjects of their interviews, what becomes very apparent is that they are not in that same class from an artistic and raw talent perspective, even though they are financially more successful than most of them. I think what the twins have managed to expose in this book is that they find themselves in a very privileged and fortunate position of power in the fashion industry because they have declared fashion their creative outlet through their Elizabeth & James line. They have access that many less fortunate, but far more talented purveyors of the craft, would kill for and as such they are able to parlay that into a book that seeks to elevate their credibility through association. Again, I give them credit in the marketing department for recognizing that their cutesy tween image is long past due and this book could give them a stepping stone to longer term credibility in an adjacent field to their acting alma mater.
Sure, the book will appeal to Olsen twin fans (and there are many of those), but it never really reveals anything about them and what they are going to do with the position of privilege and access that they have been given. So, they have received the "Influence" of an impressive cadre of iconoclasts, but now what are they going to do with it? This really should be categorized as a brand marketing text book rather than a coffee table fashion book.
All that being said, the book is interesting and worth a read, but there are many other books I'd spend the money on before this if I had a real interest in various aspects of fashion and those who define it. For Olsen twin fans, just buy it, and it probably won't disappoint.
Forward through their attempt at NYU to now. Ashley has all but dropped acting and now heads the Row, which is really fantastic. She has captured how to make couture lines wearable to the every day. She was the first person to put couture seams on a tee/tank. That's pretty remarkable for a now 22-year-old. Mary Kate is still acting (well) and does a good job with Elizabeth and James, their more affordable (though still expensive) line.
Basically, these are young women who grew up in fame, so their perspective on it is more jaded, deservedly. Moreover, they grew up admiring these people just like us, except they can actually afford them and go out with them. poor us.
Regardless, my point is these are girls that actually have a clue what they're talking about and they're asking questions that aren't entirely typical because they know how to dance around cliche questions. They've obviously been there.
There's a pretty heavy-handedness to Mary Kate's love of Warholian culture just in terms of who she interviews and the questions involved. Ashley, you can tell has more of a designer's appreciation for these people. She loves them like a wearer, but also can be considered a colleague, and I think that comes across from time to time.
If you have an interest in fashion, photography, the culture that surrounds that and you care about them in a way that you aren't looking for the next YSL biography, I'd definitely recommend this to you. Its a fantastic read and I think it really helps you get over the fact that these are the Olsen twins and now they're using their entity (read: influence) to prove their talent.
It should come with a warning label: Beware - may cause instantaneous inspiration, artistic delusions, and swells of longing to be prolific. If you have any interest in fashion, photography, architecture, interior design, writing, or art, you should read this book. It should be on your bookshelf.
Trust me, after the first page your head will be swimming from reading under the Influence.
An inspiring, charming, and visually pleasing book.
Diane C. Donovan