The Olsen Twins' Ex-Stylist Tells All

Photo: Dualstar Produ/REX/Shutterstock.
The Olsen twins’ illustrious canon of cinematic hits — Passport To Paris, anyone? — likely holds serious sentimental value if you were a late-‘90s tween. Or, perhaps, you were a bit younger than the intended demographic, but had a cool older sister or babysitter to clue you into the glories of all things MK & A. While we might be a bit fuzzy on the flicks’ PG-rated screwball sister-act plot lines, we certainly remember fawning over the matching ensembles Mary-Kate and Ashley wore both on-screen and in their adorable red carpet appearances. Well, you have stylist Judy Swartz to thank for every twinning tube top moment or lust-worthy spaghetti-strapped midi you so wanted to wear to that eighth grade prom. (Little did we know, the latter may have been some extensively-altered Dolce & Gabbana, so don’t worry, you definitely weren’t missing it on racks of the juniors section of Macy’s.)
Swartz, who styled a number of musicians throughout the '70s and '80s, was also instrumental in launching the Olsens’ first fashion endeavor, long before Elizabeth & James or The Row came about. Remember their Walmart line? Swartz created it — alongside her "great team," she's quick to point out — when she served as stylist, creative director, and senior vice president of the Olsens' Dualstar Entertainment. Along the way, she also played a part in the girls’ oversized, magpie, boho aesthetic, accessorized with a venti Starbucks cup, that defined their NYU years. (But more on that later.) Most recently, she worked with Melissa McCarthy, styling the actress’ red carpet appearances; she also served as creative director for McCarthy's eponymous, inclusively-sized fashion line that launched in 2015. (They aren't working together currently.)
Luckily, Swartz was more than happy to reminisce with us about dressing the Olsen twins in many of the get-ups we lusted after back in the day. Click on for a hefty dose of style nostalgia.