- Associated Press - Monday, February 13, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen seem like they are committed to make their fashion collection The Row a player in the industry. To do that, they have taken a step back.

The design duo staged a handful of intimate, abbreviated runway shows at The Carlyle Hotel on Madison Avenue on Monday as part of New York Fashion Week. The clothes _ full of quiet elegance and impressive craftsmanship _ did all the talking. The only sound in the room came from a baby grand piano. Photographers weren’t even allowed into the show, with the brand deciding to provide news outlets with their own images.

The strategy of shunning the spotlight could backfire if the Olsens didn’t continue to turn out impressive clothes that draw the support of top fashion editors and retailers.

They’ve developed a distinct point of view that embraces fluidity and sophistication, usually with monochromatic outfits in tempting fabrics. Embellishment is minimal, but the looks they presented for fall ramped up the uptown luxury factor with mink and alligator trims, and quite a bit of dressy taffeta.

The Olsens explained in their notes that they were courting the American woman “from day to night.” Think cozy chenille jackets or cashmere tops with an underlayer of sheer chiffon, or paired with a full-length skirt. They also put together blouses with billowy sleeves and slim bottoms.

“Slightly irreverent, she plays with duality of season and time of day. She wears summer clothing in winter and daywear in the evening. The result is a relaxed and timeless elegance,” they said.

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Follow AP coverage of New York Fashion Week at https://twitter.com/ap_fashion

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