Like another recent Penguin title—Paper Towns by John Green—Influence has two covers. One features Mary-Kate on the front with Ashley on the back cover, and the other vice-versa.
Having been in the public eye most of their lives, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have spent plenty of time as the subjects of photographs, interviews and media scrutiny. But in Influence (Razorbill), which goes on sale next week with a 150,000-copy first printing, the actresses/entrepreneurs turn the tables, interviewing (and photographing via Polaroid camera) 20 creative figures—from model Lauren Hutton to designer Diane von Furstenberg—whose work or lives have inspired them. The book also includes sections on each of the twins, featuring previously unseen personal photographs and objects.
The coffee table-style book, edited by Derek Blasberg and designed by Rodrigo Corral, consists of face-to-face interviews the Olsens conducted separately or together over the past year, beside photographs of the various artists’ and figures’ work. The interviews delve into their subjects’ backgrounds, influences and methods—designer John Galliano says, “The clothes are the star, not me,” when asked about the degree to which he is aware of his “personal iconography,” and Karl Lagerfeld discusses getting his start in fashion, never having attended fashion school, by winning a contest for a sketch of a coat (“It was pure accident, everything”).
Given that the Olsens can scarcely buy coffee and a newspaper without setting off the paparazzi, it’s perhaps expected that Influence will generate attention. The twins made their first TV appearance for the book earlier today on The Oprah Winfrey Show as part of a show about young multimillionaires, and next week Ashley Olsen will visit Good Morning America and The Late Show with David Letterman, while Mary-Kate will appear on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. They’ll be getting plenty of print exposure as well, with an interview scheduled for the New York Times this weekend, as well as a book review in the Washington Post. Magazine features include a first serial in Glamour and pieces in Vanity Fair; O, The Oprah Magazine; InStyle and CosmoGirl, among many others.
Public appearances for the sisters include a signing at Barnes & Noble Union Square in New York City on October 28 and at Borders in Los Angeles on November 12. Additionally, Barneys New York will host a pub party for Influence, and the department store’s windows will showcase the book along with clothing from some of the designers interviewed within its pages.
Influence by Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen. Razorbill, $35 ISBN 978-1-59514-210-8