Exclusive: Inside the Stunning New Elizabeth and James Store in L.A.
Designers Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen need no introduction. Their inimitable style has made them a permanent fixture on best-dressed lists across the globe, not to mention our Instagram feeds with 73K posts (and counting) under the #olsentwins hashtag. But they are so much more than their personal style. The dynamic duo comprises ultra-savvy businesswomen who run a multimillion-dollar empire that includes two major clothing lines: luxury brand The Row, and contemporary lifestyle brand Elizabeth and James, the latter of which officially opened its first flagship at The Grove in Los Angeles today.
Once again the designers proved their finely tuned eye for interior design. After the successful launch of The Row’s West Hollywood boutique last year, which offered a sleek and minimal, mid-century modern aesthetic, the designers continue to offer a fresh perspective on bricks-and-mortar retail. Ashley and Mary-Kate collaborated with architect David Montalba of Montalba Architects to bring their curated vision to life. The custom-built boutique features a bright, open interior with white brick walls and wooden floors. Iconic vintage furniture sits comfortably alongside pale wood and brushed stainless steel fixtures for that eclectic California vibe.
The store doesn’t skimp on luxe materials either, with the brand’s accessories creatively displayed on wool felt–lined shelves, marble slabs, and leather wrapped trays. The designers handpicked decorative objects such as handmade pottery, vintage books, sage smudge sticks, and objet d'art to enhance that lived-in feel among the brand’s extensive collection of clothing, accessories, and fragrance. Mary-Kate and Ashley took MyDomaine on an exclusive tour of the new boutique before it opened where they revealed their career advice, secrets to success, morning routines, and so much more.
MYDOMAINE: How does fashion influence the interior design of your boutiques?
MARY-KATE OLSEN: Whether we are designing a collection or a store, we approach the process with the same idea of curation. Curating pieces for her wardrobe or curating a space.
ASHLEY OLSEN: Elizabeth and James celebrates “new nostalgia” and referencing the old with a new fresh perspective. We translated that to the design of the store by incorporating vintage found objects to contrast the modern and clean build-out of the store and the custom-built fixtures.
MD: There is a great deal of crossover in fashion and interiors. Who are some of the major architects and furniture designers who inspire your clothing design?
MO: Depends on the season. One season you could be inspired by the function of a Prouvé piece or the curve of a Royère.
AO: We’re collectors and we appreciate beautiful, unique pieces.
MD: Your minimal flagship for The Row is a who’s who of famous furniture designers from Poul Kjærholm to Jean Prouvé, which fits the high-end tailored aesthetic of the brand. Who are some of the interior influencers for the Elizabeth and James store?
MO: Elizabeth and James was a simplified concept so that the curation of goods would pop in the store. Curation has not been done before on a contemporary level, so we are excited to continue to start this trend in another market.
MD: Being the CEOs of Dualstar and so many companies under that umbrella, how do you switch off and maintain a balance between work and life? Do you believe in balance?
MO: We work as a team, side by side every day. At times it can get overwhelming, but at the end of day, you care so much that you find the energy to keep going: Balance will always be a struggle.
MD: What are some key things you do every morning that kick off the day and enhance your productivity?
MO: Music helps.
AO: A good night’s sleep.
MD: What mistakes have you learned from, and even benefited from, in your career?
MO: Everyone goes through learning curves. We try to learn from them.
MD: It takes confidence to be a CEO and lead. What tips do you have to summon the courage and bravery?
AO: Don’t be afraid to take risks—well-informed risks.
MO: You can’t be afraid of failure.
MD: What qualities and attributes do you think it takes to be successful?
AO: Flexibility, while having a clear point of view.
MD: If you could give five words of advice (or fewer) to female entrepreneurs, what would it be?
MO: No is a full sentence.
What do you love most about the new Elizabeth and Olsen flagship? Would you design your home like this too?